FDA approves drug for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis – possible implications for autoimmune encephalitis?

Medpage Today reports that the FDA has approved the biologic drug ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) for treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Ocrelizumab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody targeting B cells which is the same mechanism of action as rituximab (Rituxan), which some earlier studies found to be effective against both relapsing-remitting and progressive MS. Off-label use of rituximab in MS is not uncommon, especially in Europe where insurance coverage is more flexible. Click here to read the full story.

From AEA Executive Director, John Spencer: “Many people with autoimmune encephalitis are given immunosuppressants such at Rituxan and Cellcept as part of their short- and long-term treatment regimen. This type of off-label use has proven to be very effective. We hope that as scientific knowledge unfolds, new medications will be able to improve the lives of those affected with AE.”

Note that AEA does not endorse any specific drug or treatment as only a doctor can make a determination on course of care for patients with autoimmune encephalitis.