Methotrexate as a Corticosteroid-Sparing Agent in Complicated Neurocysticercosis

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Abstract

Background.

A subset of patients with neurocysticercosis developed chronic or recurrent perilesional inflammation and required long-term and high-dose corticosteroid therapy. Such therapy frequently results in severe adverse effects. The purpose of this study was to determine whether methotrexate can be used as an effective corticosteroid-sparing or replacement agent in patients with complicated neurocysticercosis.

Methods.

This study was a nonblinded, prospective, observational trial. Patients with neurocysticercosis who required prednisone (15 mg/day) or its equivalent for ≥2 months, were likely to require long-term corticosteroid therapy by nature of their disease, developed serious complications due to corticosteroid use, or presented with a long-term history of corticosteroid use and had continued evidence of ongoing inflammation were eligible for methotrexate treatment.

Results.

Four patients are described in this study: 2 with subarachnoid neurocysticercosis, 1 with severe intraventricular and parenchymal disease, and 1 with recurrent perilesional edema around calcified lesions. Chronic inflammation due to neurocysticercosis resulted in lacunar infarcts, visual impairment, hydrocephalus, and seizures in these patients and necessitated long-term treatment with corticosteroids, which resulted in multiple adverse effects. The addition of methotrexate, prescribed at ≤20 mg/week, allowed for the successful reduction of corticosteroid use in all 4 patients and resulted in the improvement of many corticosteroid-associated adverse effects.

Conclusions.

Methotrexate is a beneficial corticosteroid-sparing or replacement agent for patients with neurocysticercosis who develop chronic or recurrent perilesional inflammation

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