Benefit of high-dose oral riboflavin therapy in riboflavin transporter deficiency.
Riboflavin transporter deficiency (RTD) is a progressive inherited neuropathy of childhood onset, characterised by pontobulbar palsy, sensorineural deafness, sensory ataxia, muscle weakness, optic atrophy and respiratory failure. Riboflavin supplementation is beneficial in short-term reports, but the quantum of benefit in various clinical domains is not well understood. A PubMed search was conducted, which identified 94 genetically confirmed cases of RTD who received riboflavin supplementation and had follow-up assessments. Information on the clinical and functional status before and after riboflavin supplementation was collected and analysed. Seventy-six of the 94 patients (80.9%) showed an overall improvement after riboflavin supplementation, and the remaining (19.1%) were stable, though some patients had deteriorations in individual domains with no reported deaths. The domains that had the highest rates of response to riboflavin supplementation were gross motor function (93.3% improved), bulbar palsy (91.3%) and ataxia (90.0%). Improvements were also seen in limb muscle weakness, audiology, facial nerve palsy and respiratory function. Despite treatment, many patients required assistance to ambulate and had severe or profound hearing loss and some remained gastrostomy or tracheostomy dependent. Riboflavin supplementation is a lifesaving intervention for patients with RTD and results in a profound improvement in several functional domains, with early diagnosis and treatment further improving outcomes. Despite treatment, patients are left with residual disability. There is a need to accurately measure functional outcomes in children with RTD and develop additional disease-modifying therapies.
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