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. 2019 Dec 21;19(1):335.
doi: 10.1186/s12883-019-1573-2.

Understanding Side Effects of Therapy for Myasthenia Gravis and Their Impact on Daily Life

Free PMC article

Understanding Side Effects of Therapy for Myasthenia Gravis and Their Impact on Daily Life

Elizabeth Dansie Bacci et al. BMC Neurol. .
Free PMC article


Background: Myasthenia gravis is a chronic, autoimmune, neuromuscular junction disorder characterized by skeletal muscle weakness. Current therapies for myasthenia gravis are associated with significant side effects. The objective of this study was to characterize the side effects, and associated health-related quality of life and treatment impacts, of traditional myasthenia gravis treatments.

Methods: This study had two phases; a Phase 1 interview and a 2-part web-based survey in Phase 2 that included brainstorming (Step 1) and rating (Step 2) exercises using group concept mapping. In Phase 1, all 14 participants reported experiencing side effects from myasthenia gravis treatments which had significant impacts on daily life. In Phase 2, 246 participants contributed to Step 1; 158 returned for Step 2.

Results: The brainstorming exercise produced 874 statements about side effects and their impact, which were reduced to 35 side effects and 23 impact-on-daily life statements. When rating these statements on severity, frequency, and tolerability, blood clots, infections/decreased immunity, weight gain, and diarrhea were the least tolerable and most severely rated. The most frequent and severe impacts were sleep interference and reduced physical and social activities.

Conclusions: Based on these findings, there appears to be a need for better and more tolerable treatments for myasthenia gravis patients.

Keywords: Adherence to treatment; Health-related quality of life; MG; Myasthenia gravis; Side effects.

Conflict of interest statement

LH is employed by Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (and may own Alexion stock or stock options). ANB was employed by Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. at the time the study was conducted and is currently employed by Agios Pharmaceuticals. JLP was employed by Evidera at the time the study was conducted and is currently employed by and owns stock at Eli Lilly and Company. EDB and KSC are employed by Evidera, a business unit of PPD, which provides consulting and other research services to pharmaceutical, medical device, and related organizations. In their salaried positions, they work with a variety of companies and organizations, and are precluded from receiving payment or honoraria directly from these organizations for services rendered. Evidera received funding from Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., to participate in the study and for the development of this manuscript.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Phase 2 data disposition

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