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Treatment of multiple sclerosis with mitoxantrone.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Ulm University, Dietenbronn/Schwend, Federal Republic of Germany.


Ten multiple sclerosis patients, all with a rapid deteriorating disease profile, were treated with 12 mg/m2 of the cytostatic agent mitoxantrone, administered every 3 months. This dosage is only 25% of what a patient with a solid tumour would normally receive during the same time period. In all treated patients the deterioration was stopped following the initial dosage; in four out of ten patients there was even an immediate improvement of the neurological status. Eight out of nine patients showed an improvement after 1 year as compared with their enrollment status; the other one remained stabile. In correlation with the clinical improvement, the mean P100 latencies of visual evoked potentials showed a reduction after 1 year. However, the changes identified through magnetic resonance imaging were even clearer than those seen clinically. At admission, this group of patients presented with a total of 169 gadolinium (Gd)-enhancing lesions. Only 10 lesions were enhancing in nine patients 12 months after the initiation of treatment. It appears that mitoxantrone accelerates the disappearance of Gd-enhancing lesions and prevents the development of new ones. Minimal side effects such as mild nausea and a slight faintness were evident in six patients and then for only 1-2 days.

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