Objective This pilot study preliminarily examined the efficacy and tolerability of cetirizine as an add-on to standard therapy for neuromyelitis optica (NMO).
Methods Eligible participants met the Wingerchuk 2006 diagnostic criteria or had a single typical episode along with positive NMO immunoglobulin G. After baseline clinical and laboratory assessments, participants began treatment with cetirizine 10 mg orally daily, in addition to their usual disease-modifying therapy for NMO, and continued for 1 year. The primary end point was the annualized relapse rate (ARR) while on the same disease-modifying therapy before starting cetirizine compared with after taking cetirizine. Additional end points included disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS]), relapse severity, tolerability, especially with respect to drowsiness measured by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and laboratory parameters.
Results The ARR before cetirizine was 0.4 ± 0.80 and after cetirizine was 0.1 ± 0.24 (p = 0.047). There was no statistically significant difference in the EDSS (mean 3.9 ± 2.18 before the start of the study and 3.2 ± 2.31 at the conclusion of the study, p = 0.500). The ESS remained fairly consistent throughout the study (mean 6.5 ± 5.33 at baseline and 6.9 ± 4.50 at month 12, p = 0.740). Laboratory studies were unrevealing.
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