Background: Patients with severe visual loss because of optic neuritis refractory to high dose corticosteroids have limited therapeutic options. The use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has been advocated in the past, but data are scarce. In this study, we use a protocol different from those used in other studies, with different timing and dosage.
Methods: Consecutive patients with corticosteroid-refractive optic neuropathy were treated with IVIG and compared with control patients who received only corticosteroids in an open-label, non-randomized, controlled prospective study.
Results: Twenty-three patients received treatment with IVIG and 24 matched patients who did not receive treatment with IVIG were followed as controls. All patients had visual acuity 20/400 or worse in the affected eye. There was significant improvement in the IVIG group with 18/23 (78%) subjects reaching near normal vision (20/30 or better), compared with the control group with only 3/24 (12.5%) responding similarly.
Conclusions: The use of IVIG, following corticosteroids, may be useful using the protocol described herein, with sustained pulsed dosing. A larger controlled trial is indicated to confirm these results.