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Neurology. 1988 Jul;38(7 Suppl 2):9-14.

Immunosuppression with high-dose i.v. cyclophosphamide and ACTH in progressive multiple sclerosis: cumulative 6-year experience in 164 patients.

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Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.


One hundred sixty-four patients with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) have been treated with a regimen of high-dose IV cyclophosphamide and ACTH over the past 6 years. Their status was reviewed to determine complications associated with treatment, dosage of medication used to induce a remission, factors which may predict a response to therapy, and subsequent course following treatment. One year following initial treatment, 81% of patients were improved or stabilized. Reprogression occurred in 69% of patients at a mean time of 17.6 months. Fifty-eight patients who initially stabilized after treatment and then reprogressed were treated a second time. One year after retreatment, 70% of these patients were improved or stabilized. Alopecia, nausea and vomiting, and minor infections were the most frequent complications. There were no deaths associated with treatment, the complication rate did not change with multiple treatments, and no late complications have yet been observed. Improvement tended to occur in younger patients with shorter disease duration. Although this treatment regimen is generally well tolerated and can favorably affect the course of chronic progressive MS in a majority of patients, a single treatment does not induce a permanent remission, and some form of maintenance treatment or retreatment is required. Current treatment programs involve testing a modified induction regimen and periodic outpatient booster injections to maintain remission.

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