Living with a rare neurological disorder like neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) can be challenging, but there is hope. For Black people navigating the complexities of NMOSD, understanding the available treatment options is crucial to managing the condition effectively.
NMOSD is a chronic autoimmune disorder that primarily affects the optic nerves and spinal cord.
The condition is more prevalent among Black individuals, and it disproportionately affects women. The symptoms can vary widely, including vision loss, muscle weakness, numbness, and difficulty coordinating movements.
Although NMOSD is a rare condition, it is vital for the Black community to understand the treatment options available to them and the potential for managing symptoms effectively.
Treatment Options for NMOSD
Unfortunately there is no cure for NMOSD, but starting treatment quickly helps increase the likelihood that you’ll live longer and with better overall health
- Acute Attack Management: During an acute attack, high-dose corticosteroids such as intravenous methylprednisolone are often prescribed to reduce inflammation and shorten the duration of symptoms. This treatment helps to restore function and prevent further nerve damage.
- Maintenance Therapy: To prevent future attacks, immunosuppressive medications like azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, or rituximab may be prescribed. These medications work by suppressing the immune system to reduce the frequency and severity of NMOSD relapses.
- Plasma Exchange (PLEX): In severe cases or when patients do not respond well to other treatments, PLEX may be considered. PLEX involves removing the patient’s blood plasma and replacing it with healthy plasma or a substitute. This procedure helps to remove harmful antibodies and control the autoimmune response.
- Monoclonal Antibodies: Another promising treatment option for NMOSD is the use of monoclonal antibodies. Eculizumab and inebilizumab are two such medications that target specific molecules involved in the immune response, effectively preventing NMOSD attacks.