Advances and ongoing research in the treatment of autoimmune neuromuscular junction disorders.
Verschuuren JJ., Palace J., Murai H., Tannemaat MR., Kaminski HJ., Bril V.
Myasthenia gravis and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome are antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases of the neuromuscular junction that usually present with weakness in ocular muscles and in proximal muscles of the limb and trunk. Prognosis regarding muscle strength, functional abilities, quality of life, and survival is generally good. However, some patients do not respond to treatment. Symptomatic drugs, corticosteroids, and steroid-sparing immunosuppressive drugs remain the cornerstone of treatment. In the past few years, new biological agents against complement, the FcRn receptor, or B-cell antigens have been tested in clinical trials. These new therapies extend the possibilities for targeted immunotherapies and promise exciting new options with a relatively rapid mode of action. Challenges in their use might occur, with barriers due to an increase in cost of care and additional considerations in the choice of drugs, and potential consequences of infection and vaccination due to the COVID-19 pandemic.