Inebilizumab for treatment of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder in patients with prior rituximab use from the N-MOmentum Study

Eoin P. Flanagan, Michael Levy, Eliezer Katz, Daniel Cimbora, Jorn Drappa, Maureen A. Mealy, Dewei She, Bruce A.C. Cree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The B-cell–depleting agent rituximab (anti-CD20) was historically used to prevent attacks in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). Inebilizumab, which targets and depletes CD19-expressing B cells, plasmablasts, and some plasma cells, received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of NMOSD based on results from the randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 2/3 N-MOmentum trial. Because of their closely related mechanisms of action, consideration as to whether inebilizumab may be a suitable treatment option for patients with prior rituximab experience is important. This post hoc analysis of data from N-MOmentum assessed inebilizumab efficacy and tolerability in participants previously treated with rituximab. Methods: Adjudicated attacks, secondary efficacy outcomes, and treatment-emergent adverse events were assessed by prior rituximab use during a 6-month randomized control period and open-label period. Results: Seventeen participants in N-MOmentum had prior rituximab use, of whom 13 were randomly assigned to the inebilizumab treatment group. Seven of these participants had breakthrough attacks prior to enrollment (annualized attack rate, 0.78 attacks/person-year) despite rituximab use. While they were receiving inebilizumab in the randomized control period, 1 of 13 participants with prior rituximab use had an attack (hazard ratio vs all placebo, 0.16; 95% confidence interval: 0.02 1.20; p = 0.07). Two additional participants with prior rituximab use experienced attacks on inebilizumab during the open-label period, with an overall annualized attack rate of 0.08 (95% confidence interval: 0.02 0.34) attacks/person-year. This annualized attack rate was similar to that of participants without prior rituximab use (0.10 [95% confidence interval: 0.07 0.15]). None of the 7 participants who experienced attacks while taking rituximab experienced an attack while receiving inebilizumab. Two (12%) participants with prior rituximab use experienced serious treatment-emergent adverse events related to inebilizumab, with serious or grade ≥3 infections occurring in 3 (18%) participants each. No deaths or opportunistic infections were reported in this cohort. Conclusions: These findings support the efficacy of inebilizumab in participants with NMOSD who had previously been treated with rituximab. Infections occurred in nearly all study participants with prior rituximab exposure, highlighting a need for clinical vigilance in such individuals. Further studies are necessary to determine potential safety concerns of inebilizumab, including risk of infection, in rituximab-experienced patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103352
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • B-cell depletion
  • Inebilizumab
  • Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder
  • Rituximab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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