Treatment strategies for autoimmune encephalitis

Ther Adv Neurol Disord. 2017 Aug 16:11:1756285617722347. doi: 10.1177/1756285617722347. eCollection 2018.


Autoimmune encephalitis is one of the most rapidly growing research topics in neurology. Along with discoveries of novel antibodies associated with the disease, clinical experience and outcomes with diverse immunotherapeutic agents in the treatment of autoimmune encephalitis are accumulating. Retrospective observations indicate that early aggressive treatment is associated with better functional outcomes and fewer relapses. Immune response to first-line immunotherapeutic agents (corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, plasma exchange, and immunoadsorption) is fair, but approximately half or more of patients are administered second-line immunotherapy (rituximab and cyclophosphamide). A small but significant proportion of patients are refractory to all first- and second-line therapies and require further treatment. Although several investigations have shown promising alternatives, the low absolute number of patients involved necessitates more evidence to establish further treatment strategies. In this review, the agents used for first- and second-line immunotherapy are discussed and recent attempts at finding new treatment options are introduced.

Keywords: autoimmune encephalitis; immunotherapeutic agent; treatment option.

Publication types

  • Review