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Mult Scler. 1999 Jun;5(3):198-203.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of extracorporeal photopheresis in chronic progressive multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Extracorporeal photopheresis is a safe therapy for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and may have efficacy in certain autoimmune disorders. We performed a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of monthly photopheresis therapy in 16 patients with clinically definite multiple sclerosis (MS). All patients had progressed during the preceding year with entry Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores between 3.0 and 7.0. Patients received photopheresis or sham therapy for 1 year and were followed for an additional 6 to 12 months. Patients were clinically evaluated by three disability scales: (1) EDSS; (2) Ambulation index and (3) Scripp's quantitative neurologic assessment. No serious side effects occurred in either group. There were no differences between the photopheresis and sham therapy groups by the disability measures. Additionally, there were no differences in progression of MRI plaque burden or evoked potential latencies. In this limited study, photopheresis was found to be safe but did not significantly alter the course of chronic progressive MS.

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