Intrathecal treatment trial of rituximab in progressive MS: results after a 2-year extension.

To evaluate the effect of intrathecally (IT) delivered rituximab as a therapeutic intervention for progressive multiple sclerosis (PMS) during a 3-year follow-up period.Participants of a 1-year open-label phase 1b study of IT delivered rituximab to patients with PMS were offered extended treatment with follow-up for an additional 2 years. During the extension phase, treatment with 25 mg rituximab was administered every 6 months via a subcutaneous Ommaya reservoir connected to the right frontal horn with a ventricular catheter.Mild to moderate vertigo and nausea occurred in 4 out of 14 participants as temporary adverse events associated with IT rituximab infusion. During the entire 3-year period, two cases of low-virulent bacterial meningitis occurred, which were successfully treated. Walking speed deteriorated significantly during the study.IT administration of rituximab via a ventricular catheter was well tolerated. Considering the meningitis cases, the risk of infection was not negligible. The continued loss of walking speed indicates that IT rituximab was not able to stop disease progression.This study provides class IV evidence that intraventricularly administered rituximab in progressive MS is associated with a risk for bacterial meningitis and does not halt disease progression.EudraCT; 2008-002626-11 and 2012-000721-53.

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