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Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2015 Feb;44(4):472-5. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2014.08.004. Epub 2014 Aug 23.

Tocilizumab for severe refractory neuro-Behçet: three cases IL-6 blockade in neuro-Behçet.

Author information

1
Rheumatology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera ASMN, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Viale Risorgimento 80, 42123, Reggio Emilia, Italy. Electronic address: olga.addimanda@asmn.re.it.
2
Rheumatology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera ASMN, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Viale Risorgimento 80, 42123, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To describe the response to IL-6 blockade [tocilizumab (TCZ)] in three patients affected by highly refractory neuro-Behçet disease (NBD).

METHODS:

Three patients who had failed synthetic immunosuppressants and TNF-α antagonists combined with glucocorticoids received TCZ after obtaining their informed consent. Two patients underwent TCZ infusions at 8mg/kg every 4 weeks for a mean period of 24 months, while in one patient, the frequency of TCZ infusions was increased to every other week after 21 months due to a disease flare. Concomitant therapy with synthetic agents and low-to-medium dose glucocorticoids was continued. Clinical and imaging findings were assessed before and after the onset of TCZ therapy.

RESULTS:

In all our patients, a very short time lag between the onset of treatment with TCZ and the clinical response was observed. A partial response occurred in two patients and a nearly complete response in one. Some loss of efficacy occurred after 18 months in one patient, but there was again a significant improvement when the interval between the infusions was shortened. TCZ was overall well tolerated and no serious adverse events occurred. In two patients, the prednisone dose could successfully be tapered to about 20mg/day, while in another patient glucocorticoids could safely be withdrawn. Brain MRI remained virtually unchanged in all patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although TCZ has not yet been included among the medications recommended for the treatment of NBD, our data suggest that it may be considered for patients with refractory NBD.

KEYWORDS:

Anti-TNF-alfa agents; Biologic therapies; Corticosteroids; IL-6; IL-6 blockade; Neuro-Behçet; Refractory disease

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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