A story from findmecure.com describes several of the latest developments in the area of myasthenia gravis treatment that patients should be aware of. The field of rare disease treatment is constantly changing and developing all of the time with new therapies being introduced and new research discoveries, so it is important for patients to stay up to date on the latest advancements.
About Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia gravis is a long term autoimmune disease that is most characterized by weakness of the skeletal muscles which can affect a patient’s ability to move and breathe. An an autoimmune disease, myasthenia gravis is ultimately the result of abnormal immune system behavior in which the system attacks normal body tissue. In this disease, the immune system produces antibodies that inhibit regular neuromuscular function. Symptoms of the illness include muscle weakness that worsens after activity and gets better after resting. This weakness may affect the face, eyes, neck, breathing, and limbs. It may cause speech and swallowing difficulties, eyelid drooping, shortness of breath, and blurred vision. In severe cases, patients may require breathing assistance with a ventilator. Treatment options for myasthenia gravis include immunosuppressive medications, thyroid gland removal, IVIG, and plasmapharesis. Most patients can effectively manage the condition with treatment. To learn more about myasthenia gravis, click here.
Here are five developments that all myasthenia gravis patients should know about.
- Thymectomy, a surgical procedure in which the thymus is removed, has the potential to be of benefit to all patients. In the past, this approach was typically reserved for those patients that presented with a thymus gland tumor called a thymoma. However, the latest research indicates that even patients without them can benefit.
- The complement inhibitor Soliris was recently approved as a treatment for refractory, generalized myasthenia gravis. This gives patients that fail to respond to other treatment approaches a new option. Patients should be aware of potential side effects, such as meningococcal infection (patients are required to get a meningococcal vaccine prior to treatment).
- The drug zilucoplan is slated to proceed to a phase 3 clinical trial later in the year. This drug has a mechanism of action similar to Soliris. The results of the phase 2 trial displayed convincing safety and efficacy findings. The phase 3 trial is expected to include around 130 myasthenia gravis patients.
- The latest research indicates that the gut microbiome of people with myasthenia gravis is less diverse than in healthy people and may make inflammation more likely. More research is necessary to fully grasp the relationship between the gut microbiome and autoimmune diseases.
- The drug Rituxan, or rituximab, may be another viable treatment for myasthenia gravis. A recent study found that patients treated with the drug experienced improved muscle strength and the progression of their symptoms was slowed considerably.
These developments indicate that the field of myasthenia gravis treatment has not been quiet and that new options for treatment may be on the way soon.