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Plasmapheresis Versus Intravenous Immunoglobulin in Patients With Autoimmune Neuromuscular and Neuro-immunological Conditions.

OBJECTIVES: Plasmapheresis (PLEX) and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) are commonly used to treat autoimmune neuromuscular disorders, including myasthenia gravis, acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, and other autoimmune neurological disorders. The side effect profiles of these therapies vary, and concern has been raised regarding the safety of PLEX in the elderly population. In this study, we have examined the pattern of PLEX and IVIg use for autoimmune neurological disorders at a single facility and in a national database, focusing on the complications in elderly patients.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of adult patients at our institution receiving PLEX or IVIg for any autoimmune neuromuscular or neuro-immunological disease. Next, we analyzed the National Inpatient Sample database to confirm the trend in IVIg and PLEX use from 2012 to 2018 for a set of neuromuscular and neuro-immunological primary diagnoses.

RESULTS: IVIg was overall favored over PLEX. The adverse effects were similar among elderly patients (age ≥65 years) compared with younger patients (<65 years) in our institution, even after adequate matching of patients based on age, sex, and medical history. We examined the National Inpatient Sample dataset and noted increasingly higher frequency of IVIg use, consistent with the findings from our institution or facility.

CONCLUSIONS: Both PLEX and IVIg are safe therapeutic choices in adult patients with autoimmune neuromuscular disorders and other neuro-immunological diseases and can be safely administered in the appropriate clinical setting.

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