How is Devic's disease treated?

Since it is a relatively rare disease, there are no large-scale studies of treatment for Devic's disease. Treatment for an acute attack of Devic's usually begins with intravenous steroids followed by oral steroids. If the steroids are not effective, a treatment known as plasmapheresis is often used. This therapy cleans the antibodies from the blood by circulating it through a machine, similar to the way in which dialysis works.

Longer-term treatment medications may include:

  • Steroids
  • Immune-suppressing medicines such as azathioprine
  • Chemotherapeutics such as mitoxantrone (Novantrone®)
  • Other immune-suppressing medications have also been used (e.g., rituximab)

Devic's disease does not appear to respond to standard medications for multiple sclerosis. It is important therefore to identify this diagnosis so that more effective treatment for this problem can be used early in the disorder.

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