Clinical Neuroscience

[Extending therapeutic possibilities in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: dimethyl fumarate]


JANUARY 30, 2015

Clinical Neuroscience - 2015;68(01-02)

[Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is a novel oral therapy that has recently been approved for the treatment of relapsing- remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Dimethyl fumarate shows anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties that are thought to be mediated primarily via activation of the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 - Nrf2 transcriptional pathway, which up-regulates the genes involved in the cellular response to oxidative stress. The drug was evaluated in 2 large, randomized, double-blind, multicentric, multinational, 2-year, phase III clinical trials. The DEFINE and CONFIRM trials, conducted with over 2600 adult patients suffering from RRMS, unequivocally confirmed the efficacy of DMF (2×240 mg daily) in reducing the annualized relapse rate (ARR) and reducing the proportion of patients with MS relapse at 2 years. Significantly reduced sustained disability progression was observed with the drug versus placebo in DEFINE, while the same tendency was seen in CONFIRM. The MRI results of the studies were also convincing: DMF significantly reduced the number of new/enlarging T2-hyperintense lesions and the number of Gd-enhancing lesions compared to placebo. Dimethyl fumarate was generally well tolerated and no safety concern has been raised. Adverse events that occurred most frequently included flushing and gastrointestinal events. The long- term efficacy and tolerability of dimethyl fumarate is currently being investigated in the ENDORSE trial, with interim results demonstrating the same results as the two previous studies. In conclusion, although further, mostly comparative data are needed to fully establish the relative efficacy and tolerability of dimethyl fumarate compared with other therapies, dimethyl-fumarate is a valuable addition to the therapeutic options available for RRMS.]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[The first identified Central-Eastern European patient with genetically confirmed dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy]


[Aims - Dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a trinucleotide repeat expansion. The disease mainly occurs amongst the Japanese and is extremely rare in the European population. The characteristic clinical symptoms are cerebellar ataxia, dementia, choreoathetoid movements, epileptic seizures and myoclonus. The aim of this study is to present the first genetically confirmed Hungarian case of DRPLA. Case report - The middle-aged female patient developed the characteristic clinical symptoms except myoclonus over her late thirties with positive family history. The major finding in the skull magnetic resonance imaging was the atrophy of infratentorial brain structures with the consequential dilation of related cerebrospinal fluid spaces. A detailed neuropsychological examination was also performed and it revealed moderate cognitive dysfunctions, mild depression and anxiety. As underlying conditions, Huntington’s disease and common spinocerebellar ataxia forms all came into consideration, but all the result of the respective genetic tests were negative. However, the test for mutation in the ATN1 gene revealed pathological heterozygous CAG repeat expansion. Conclusion - This case study serves as the first description of genetically confirmed DRPLA in the Central-Eastern region of Europe, the clinical features of which seems to be very similar to the previously reported cases.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Role of modified open-door laminoplasty in the treatment of multilevel cervical spinal stenosis: a retrospective analysis of 43 cases]


[Background and purpose - Symptomatic degenerative multilevel cervical spinal stenosis - beside other methods - is often treated using the open-door laminoplasty. This procedure aims to decompress the spinal cord and preserve the stability of the cervical spine. The efficiency and safety of the method was proved by numerous Japanese and American studies, also the technique related complications are well known. We treated 43 patients with symptomatic multilevel cervical spine stenosis using the open-door laminoplasty as a surgical procedure of choice in the National Institute of Clinical Neurosciences between 2009 and 2012. In this article we analyse our results and the related literature is discussed. Methods - Symptomatic patients with a minimum of three-segment cervical spine stenosis and radiologically proved myelopathy or with electrophisiologically verified subclinical myelopathy were selected for laminoplasty. Patients in whom cervical kyphosis was present were operated on using laminectomy and posterior fusion. Postoperative control CT, MRI and/or X-ray images were made after the surgery and at six weeks, three, six and 12 months after the operation and in the same time neurological evaluation was performed. The modified Japanase Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale value was assigned to patients preoperatively, six weeks, three, six and 12 months after the operation. The statistical difference between the groups of data was tested by chi square test. Results - The average follow-up time was 27 months (minimum seven, maximum 42). According to the mJOA scale, 26 patient’s condition (61%) improved, in 13 cases (30%) remained unchanged, and in one case (2%) we detected neurological deterioration. We lost three patients during the follow up period. The median of mJOA preoperatively was 12 (minimum eight, maximum 18), while six week postoperative mJOA was 14 (minimum 10, maximum 17). Three, six and 12 months mean value of mJOA was 14 which shows that the improvement in patients’ condition remained stable at one year after surgery. The difference was statistically significant (p<0.05). The canal’s average anteroposterior diameter on CT was 8.29±0.92 mm at the level of C III, while after the operation we measured 15.16±1.02 mm; 7.54±0.62 mm at the level of C IV before, and 15.29±0.2 mm after; 9.05±0.48 mm at the level of C V before and 17.23±0.4 mm after the surgery. The differences proved to be significant (p=0.0001). Conclusion - According to our experiences the modified open-door laminoplasty is an efficient and safe method for the treatment of symptomatic multilevel cervical spinal stenosis.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Assessment of severity and time course of critical illness neuropathy in septic patients: a prospective observational study]


[Objective - In this prospective observational study we investigated electrophysiological alterations in the early phase of critical illness and correlated electrophysiological findings with the clinical picture and outcome. Methods - We enrolled 21 critically ill surgical patients having ≥12 Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scores on admission. Routine non-invasive bilateral electroneurography (ENG) examination of median and ulnar nerves was done on five consecutive days starting in two days after admission. Then weekly follow-up was performed. Motor and sensory nerve conduction indices were calculated and correlated with APACHE II and Simplified Acute Physiology Score II severity scores. Results - On the first examination 18/21 patients had >20% reduction in the motor and sensory nerve conduction indices. Severity score systems showed significant negative correlation with the daily change of CMAP and SNAP amplitudes and calculated nerve conduction indices (Spearman’s correlation, p<0,001). Mortality was higher in the patients with worse admission ENG and/or stagnant electrophysiological status or declining tendency in the first week. Conclusions - Electrophysiological alterations appeared soon after the development of critical illness. Early phase alterations showed a strong correlation with patients’ general condition and more severe electrophysiological alterations predisposed to higher mortality. In several cases early alterations proved to be reversible. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Efficacy of anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists in acut stroke patients with atrial fibrillation - Hungarian results]

SAS Attila, CSONTOS Krisztina, LOVÁSZ Rita, VALIKOVICS Attila

[Background and objective - An estimated 20% of ischemic strokes are of cardiogenic origin, half of which is associated with atrial fibrillation (AF). Anticoagulation treatment of patients with this arrhythmia reduces their risk of stroke. Effectiveness and safety of oral anticoagulant therapy with vitamin K antagonists (VKA) is limited, however, by their well-known narrow therapeutic window and the substantial inter- and intraindividual variability of INR values depending on genetic and dietary factors as well as drug interactions. Our objective was to evaluate the prevalence of adequate anticoagulation and the level of anticoagulant effect actually achieved among patients with AF hospitalized for acute stroke. Methods - Patients with AF admitted to our hospital ward in 2012 for acute stroke (n=226) were included in the analysis. Using descriptive statistics, relevant clinical and therapeutic characteristics of the patients were assessed, with special reference to the INR values on admission (among patients with known AF), and the clinical outcomes. Results - Of the study cohort, 170 patients had a diagnosis of AF before the admission for stroke, but 47% of them did not take anticoagulants. Patients who suffered stroke while on anticoagulants (83 on VKA, 7 on low-molecular-weight heparins), were in most cases (75%) out of the therapeutic INR range, typically undertreated (INR<2). Overall, inadequate or completely absent anticoagulation was documented in 81% of the stroke cases occurring in patients with known AF. Of the entire study cohort, 41% was discharged home, 34% required continued institutional care, and 25% died. Conclusions - The inadequacy or lack of anticoagulation was observed in the vast majority of acute strokes in patients with known AF. These cases are often related to the well-documented limitations of VKA therapy in terms of its safety, tolerability and/or practical aspects. To prevent them, important changes are warranted in the anticoagulation practice, including the closer control of VKA therapy and the broader use of new oral anticoagulants.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Inclusion body myositis]

BODOKI Levente, VINCZE Melinda, GRIGER Zoltán, CSONKA Tamás, DANKÓ Katalin, HORTOBÁGYI Tibor

[The idiopathic inflammatory myopathies are systemic, chronic autoimmune diseases characterized by proximal symmetrical muscle weakness. One of the main diseases in this group is inclusion body myositis (IBM), an underdiagnosed, progressive muscle disease characteristically affecting the middle-aged and older population. It has a slow, relentlessly progressive course. The precise pathogenesis of the disease remains unknown. In most of the cases it is diagnosed a few years after the appearance of the first symptoms. The muscle biopsy typically shows endomysial inflammation, with invasion of mononuclear cells into the non-necrotic fibers, and also rimmed vacuoles. It appers, that both inflammation and degeneration are present at the onset of the disease. Our aim is to raise awareness about this disease which leads to severe disability, with clinicopathological case presentations and literature overview, emphasizing the importance of collaboration between the clinician and the neuropathologist. No effective therapy is currently available but the rapid diagnosis is essential to slow disease progression. Although this is a relatively rare disease, patients are presenting not only in immunology outpatient clinics; our reports aims to raise awareness and facilitate accurate early diagnosis of IBM. ]

All articles in the issue

Related contents

Clinical Neuroscience

[Experience with natalizumab-treatment at Semmelweis University]

GOMBOS Barbara, ILJICSOV Anna, BARSI Péter, HEGEDÛS Katalin, SIMÓ Magdolna

[Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system. During the last two decades, numerous disease modifying drugs have been introduced for the treatment of the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. Since 2010, natalizumab (NTZ) treatment has been used as a second-line therapy for patients with breakthrough disease. In comparison to conventional immunomodulant drugs, NTZ has a more specific effect in that it prevents the entry of immune cells into the central nervous system without interfering with systemic immune response. The efficacy and the safety of NTZ have been confirmed by several studies. The most severe side-effect of NTZ is progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, which has been associated with an increased incidence in patients with anti-JCV antibody positivity, and in those who have been undergoing NTZ treatment for over two years and who have received prior immunosuppressive therapy. In the present study, our experience with natalizumab treatment of 37 patients at the Department of Neurology of Semmelweis University during the last 6 years is presented. We have observed a significant decrease of disease activity in our patients; in many cases the disease has become inactive both clinically (36/37) and radiologically (34/37). The patients’ quality of life has improved significantly during the treatment. In accordance with the literature, we confirm that NTZ is a highly effective treatment in a carefully selected patient group, and can be administered without significant inconvenience to the patient. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

Valproic acid associated pleuropericardial effusion: case report

DEMIR Figen Ulku

Introduction - Valproic acid is an effective antiepileptic and mood stabilizer used in the treatment of many neurological and psychiatric disorders. Although there are frequently seen side effects, effusions between layers of pleural and pericardial membranes are rare to be seen. Case - Pleuropericardial effusion was detected in a 23 years old woman who was under valproic acid treatment because of epileptic seizure. After 1 year of valproic acid treatment, patient complained of dyspnea. As all the researches intended on etiology were usual, valproic acid has been thought to be responsible for the matter. Control examination after 1.5 months regarding the end of treatment revealed complete recovery of pleuropericardial effusion. Discussion - Pleural and pericardial effusions are rarely seen complications related to the use of valproic acid. It must also be kept in mind that valproic acid causes a potential for such side effects which can be blamed etiologically when the other possibilities for patients are excluded.

Clinical Neuroscience

Isolated hypoglossal nerve palsy due to a jugular foramen schwannoma


Introduction – Although the involvement of the hypoglossal nerve together with other cranial nerves is common in several pathological conditions of the brain, particularly the brainstem, isolated hypoglossal nerve palsy is a rare condition and a diagnostic challenge. Case presentation – The presented patient arrived to the hospital with a history of slurred speech and an uncomfortable sensation on his tongue. Neurological examination showed left-sided hemiatrophy of the tongue with fasciculations and deviation towards the left side during protrusion. Based on the clinical and MRI findings, a diagnosis of hypoglossal nerve schwannoma was made. Discussion – Hypoglossal nerve palsy may arise from multiple causes such as trauma, infections, neoplasms, and endocrine, autoimmune and vascular pathologies. In our case, the isolated involvement of the hypoglossal nerve was at the skull base segment, where the damage to the hypoglossal nerve may occur mostly due to metastasis, nasopharyngeal carcinomas, nerve sheath tumors and glomus tumors. Conclusion – Because of the complexity of the region’s anatomy, the patient diagnosed with hypoglossal nerve schwannoma was referred for gamma knife radiosurgery.

Clinical Oncology

[Complications of infusion treatment with emphasis on extravasation of cytostatics]

HARISI Revekka

[The extravasation of cytostatics is the most signifi cant complication of infusion therapy in cancer treatment. Extravasation refers to the inadvertent infi ltration of cytostatic drugs into subcutaneous or subdermal tissues surrounding the intravenous or intraarterial administration site. According to literature data incidence estimates between 0,01-7%. Extravasated drugs are classifi ed according to their potential for causing damage as vesicant, irritant and nonvesicant. Knowledge of risk factors, the patientrelated and treatment-related ones is important to minimize the occurrence of extravasation. In order to reduce the risk of extravasation, the staff involved in the tumor infusion therapy must be specially trained to implement several preventive and therapeutical protocols. In 2012, ESMO-EONS has put together a new comprehensive treatment protocol on the topic of cytostatics extravasation. Protocol recommended that every oncological department, who administers chemotherapy have to have extravasation trained team and a standby extravasation kit. According to the new ESMO-EONS guideline subcutaneous corticoids are not recommended, anymore. In case of mechloretamine extravasation the recommendation is immediate subcutaneous injection of sodium thiosulfate. After extravasation of anthracyclines, mitomycin C and platin salts the best treatment opportunity is subcutan dimethyl sulfoxide administration. In case of anthracyclines’ extravasation intravenous dexrazoxane treatment is also effective. Hyaluronidase, injected into or under the skin, facilitates absorption of extravasated drugs because of increases connective tissue permeability, promotes the spreading and reduces the local concentration of the extravasated citostatic agents. Hyaluronidase might be effi cacious in preventing skin necrosis by extravasation due to vinca alkaloids. The treatment of unresolved tissue necrosis or pain lasting more than 10 days is surgical debridement. Because of the medical and juristic importance of the extravasation event, it is necessary to establish uniform guidelines for treatment of extravasation, in all Hungarian Oncological Centers.]