Utility of an immunothera

M. Toledano, J. W. Britton, A. McKeon, C. Shin, V. A. Lennon, A. M.L. Quek, E. So, G. A. Worrell, G. D. Cascino, C. J. Klein, T. D. Lagerlund, E. C. Wirrell, K. C. Nickels, S. J. Pittock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate a trial of immunotherapy as an aid to diagnosis in suspected autoimmune epilepsy. Method: We reviewed the charts of 110 patients seen at our autoimmune neurology clinic with seizures as a chief complaint. Twenty-nine patients met the following inclusion criteria: (1) autoimmune epilepsy suspected based on the presence of ≥1 neural autoantibody (n = 23), personal or family history or physical stigmata of autoimmunity, and frequent or medically intractable seizures; and (2) initiated a 6- to 12-week trial of IV methylprednisolone (IVMP), IV immune globulin (IVIg), or both. Patients were defined as responders if there was a 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency. Results: Eighteen patients (62%) responded, of whom 10 (34%) became seizure-free; 52% improved with the first agent. Of those receiving a second agent after not responding to the first, 43% improved. A favorable response correlated with shorter interval between symptom onset and treatment initiation (median 9.5 vs 22 months; p = 0.048). Responders included 14/16 (87.5%) patients with antibodies to plasma membrane antigens, 2/6 (33%) patients seropositive for glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 antibodies, and 2/6 (33%) patients without detectable antibodies. Of 13 responders followed for more than 6 months after initiating long-term oral immu-nosuppression, response was sustained in 11 (85%). Conclusions: These retrospective findings justify consideration of a trial of immunotherapy in patients with suspected autoimmune epilepsy. Classification of evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that in patients with suspected autoimmune epilepsy, IVMP, IVIg, or both improve seizure control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1578-1586
Number of pages9
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 6 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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