Neuromyelitis Optica - Treatment

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What is the treatment for neuromyelitis optica?

There is no cure for NMO, but there are therapies to treat an attack while it is happening, to reduce symptoms, and to prevent relapses. Doctors usually treat an initial attack of NMO with a combination of a corticosteroid drug (methylprednisolone) to stop the attack, and an immunosuppressive drug (azathioprine) for prevention of subsequent attacks. If frequent relapses occur, some individuals may need to continue a low dose of steroids for longer periods. Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) is a technique that separates antibodies out of the blood stream and is used with people who are unresponsive to corticosteroid therapy. Pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, and bladder and bowel control problems can be managed with the appropriate medications and therapies. Individuals with major disability will require the combined efforts of occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and social services professionals to address their complex rehabilitation needs.

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Comment from: Longee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

I am now a walking chemist/pharmacy. I am on lots of steroids plus a whole lot of other medication, which I take in the morning, noon, evening and bedtime. I will be under constant monitoring and have to have regular blood tests every two weeks for the time being as one of the medications I am on is an immunosuppressant. Also I'm scheduled to have physiotherapy and water exercises in the pool which I'm excited about.

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Comment from: l, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 16

Nearly 3 years post diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica, I have been treated with mycophenolate without success, azathioprine without success, now on CellCept 200 mg in the morning and 150 mg in the evening, plus ongoing prednisolone 75 mg daily, plus a large variety of other medications daily. I have monthly treatment for pneumonia. I'm regularly hospitalized for gentamycin IV for infections.

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