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Immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory therapies have had a major effect on the treatment of immune-mediated neuromuscular diseases. Following the landmark introduction of synthetic corticosteroids, other therapies have become available including plasma exchange (PLEX), immunoglobulin G (IgG), and steroid-sparing immunosuppressive drugs. More recently, novel biologically derived and antigen-specific pharmaceuticals have entered neuromuscular practice. Various levels of evidence guide the use of these medications. This article reviews current immune-based therapies in neuromuscular diseases and is divided in two parts. Part I provides an update on the evidence and use of traditional therapies, such as corticosteroids, PLEX, intravenously delivered IgG (IVIG), and steroid-sparing immunosuppressive drugs. Part II focuses on the recently FDA-approved therapies eculizumab and subcutaneous IgG (SCIG), the current indications for rituximab in neuromuscular disease, and on novel immunosuppressive therapeutic approaches underdevelopment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Muscle & nerve
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Drugs that interrupt transmission of nerve impulses at the skeletal neuromuscular junction. They can be of two types, competitive, stabilizing blockers (NEUROMUSCULAR NONDEPOLARIZING AGENTS) or noncompetitive, depolarizing agents (NEUROMUSCULAR DEPOLARIZING AGENTS). Both prevent acetylcholine from triggering the muscle contraction and they are used as anesthesia adjuvants, as relaxants during electroshock, in convulsive states, etc.
The use of peripheral nerve stimulation to assess transmission at the NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION, especially in the response to anesthetics, such as the intensity of NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKADE by NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKING AGENTS.
The intentional interruption of transmission at the NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION by external agents, usually neuromuscular blocking agents. It is distinguished from NERVE BLOCK in which nerve conduction (NEURAL CONDUCTION) is interrupted rather than neuromuscular transmission. Neuromuscular blockade is commonly used to produce MUSCLE RELAXATION as an adjunct to anesthesia during surgery and other medical procedures. It is also often used as an experimental manipulation in basic research. It is not strictly speaking anesthesia but is grouped here with anesthetic techniques. The failure of neuromuscular transmission as a result of pathological processes is not included here.
Drugs used for their actions on skeletal muscle. Included are agents that act directly on skeletal muscle, those that alter neuromuscular transmission (NEUROMUSCULAR BLOCKING AGENTS), and drugs that act centrally as skeletal muscle relaxants (MUSCLE RELAXANTS, CENTRAL). Drugs used in the treatment of movement disorders are ANTI-DYSKINESIA AGENTS.
The restriction of the MOVEMENT of whole or part of the body by physical means (RESTRAINT, PHYSICAL) or chemically by ANALGESIA, or the use of TRANQUILIZING AGENTS or NEUROMUSCULAR NONDEPOLARIZING AGENTS. It includes experimental protocols used to evaluate the physiologic effects of immobility.
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