Response to treatment in NMOSD: the Australasian experience

Laura Clarke, Wajih Bukhari, Cullen M. O'Gorman, Elham Khalilidehkordi, Simon Arnett, Mark Woodhall, Kerri M. Prain, John D.E. Parratt, Michael H. Barnett, Mark P. Marriott, Pamela A. McCombe, Ian Sutton, Mike Boggild, Wallace Brownlee, William M. Carroll, Suzanne Hodgkinson, Richard A.L. Macdonell, Deborah F. Mason, Jennifer Pereira, Mark SleeChandi Das, Andrew P.D. Henderson, Allan G. Kermode, Jeannette Lechner-Scott, Patrick Waters, Jing Sun, Simon A. Broadley, ANZ NMO Collaboration, Celia Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Several therapies have been recommended for NMOSD and more recently clinical trials have demonstrated efficacy for three monoclonal antibody therapies. We present a retrospective observational study of treatment response in NMOSD. Methods: This was a retrospective, unblinded, observational study of treatment efficacy for rituximab and traditional immunosuppressive therapy in patients with AQP4 antibody positive NMOSD. Treatment efficacy was assessed using annualised relapse rates (ARR), time to first relapse and expanded disability status scale (EDSS) scores. Results: Complete relapse and treatment data were available for 43/68 (63%) of AQP4 antibody positive NMOSD cases covering 74 episodes of treatment. In a time to first relapse analysis rituximab showed a risk ratio of 0.23 (95% CI 0.08 – 0.65) when compared with no treatment and there was a non-significant reduction in ARR of 35% compared to pre-treatment. β-interferon (p = 0.0002) and cyclophosphamide (p = 0.0034) were associated with an increased ARR compared to pre-treatment. Rituximab (median 4.0 [range 0.0 – 7.0]; p = 0.042) and traditional immunosuppressive therapy (median 4.0 [range 0.0 – 8.0]; p = 0.016) were associated with a lower final EDSS compared to β-interferon (median 6.0 [range 4.0 – 7.5]). Conclusions: These data provide additional support for the use of rituximab in preference to traditional immunosuppressive agents and MS disease modifying therapies as first line treatment of NMOSD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103408
Number of pages10
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Early online date21 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Aquaporin
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Clinical features
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuromyelitis optica


Dive into the research topics of 'Response to treatment in NMOSD: the Australasian experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this