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Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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REVIEW: MANAGEMENT UPDATES (REVIEWS ON ADVANCES IN TREATMENT)
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 341-347

Efficacy and safety of tacrolimus in myasthenia gravis: A systematic review and meta-analysis


1 Department of Pharmacy, Evidence-based Pharmacy Center, West China Second Hospital, Sichuan University; Key Laboratory of Birth Defects and Related Diseases of Women and Children, Ministry of Education, Sichuan University; West China School of Pharmacy, Sichuan University, Sichuan, P.R China
2 Department of Pharmacy, Evidence-based Pharmacy Center, West China Second Hospital, Sichuan University; Key Laboratory of Birth Defects and Related Diseases of Women and Children, Ministry of Education, Sichuan University, Sichuan, P.R China
3 West China School of Pharmacy, Sichuan University, Sichuan, P.R China
4 Department of Neurology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Sichuan, P.R China

Correspondence Address:
Lingli Zhang
West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, No. 20, Third Section, Renmin Nan Lu, Chengdu, Sichuan - 610041
P.R China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aian.AIAN_97_17

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Aims: This study was designed to determine whether treatments with tacrolimus would provide benefit for patients with myasthenia gravis (MG). Materials and Methods: The databases of Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and four Chinese databases were searched for eligible studies. Weighted mean differences and standardized mean differences (SMD) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to summarize the primary outcome, namely, steroid-sparing effect of tacrolimus in maintaining minimal manifestations, and the secondary outcome, namely, the effect of tacrolimus in reducing the severity of MG, respectively. Results: After systematic retrieval, 13 researches with two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 11 prospective open-label single-arm clinical trials were included in the study. For the primary outcome of two RCTs, one RCT which was followed up for 1 year showed a positive effect and the other RCT which was associated with treatment duration of 28 weeks showed a negative result. For the secondary outcome, meta-analyses of other 11 trials showed a benefit effect, overall. For the quantitative MG (QMG) score, there were significant differences with high heterogeneity (SMD: 2.93; 95% CI: 1.14–4.73; I2 = 86%). In contrast, for MG activities of daily living (MGADL) score, it was reduced by tacrolimus with significant SMD and less heterogeneity (SMD: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.33–0.85; I2 = 7%). Adverse effects were mentioned as mild. Discussion: The opposite results of two RCTs showed that tacrolimus with enough treatment duration might have positive steroid-sparing effect. The most possible cause of heterogeneity in the outcome of QMG score between trials was the baseline severity of MG. Conclusion: The above finding suggests that there might be a potential beneficial role with no serious side effects of tacrolimus, and additional better RCTs including larger sample sizes and long-term study are needed to confirm or refute the results.


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