Treatment of corticosteroid refractory optic neuritis in multiple sclerosis patients with intravenous immunoglobulin

Eur J Neurol. 2008 Nov;15(11):1163-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2008.02258.x. Epub 2008 Aug 21.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Resistance / drug effects*
  • Drug Resistance / immunology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Optic Nerve / drug effects
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Optic Nerve / physiopathology
  • Optic Neuritis / drug therapy*
  • Optic Neuritis / immunology
  • Optic Neuritis / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Immunologic Factors