Journal of Neurology

, Volume 263, Issue 3, pp 575–582 | Cite as

Efficacy of glatiramer acetate in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder: a multicenter retrospective study

  • Ilya Ayzenberg
  • Joanna Schöllhammer
  • Robert Hoepner
  • Kerstin Hellwig
  • Marius Ringelstein
  • Orhan Aktas
  • Tania Kümpfel
  • Markus Krumbholz
  • Corinna Trebst
  • Friedemann Paul
  • Florence Pache
  • Mark Obermann
  • Lena Zeltner
  • Matthias Schwab
  • Achim Berthele
  • Sven Jarius
  • Ingo KleiterEmail author
  • Neuromyelitis Optica Study Group (NEMOS)
Original Communication


Glatiramer acetate (GA) is an approved therapy for relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis, but its efficacy for the prevention of attacks in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) remains unknown. We did a multicenter retrospective analysis of GA-treated patients with NMOSD, identified through a national registry. Annualized relapse rate and expanded disability status scale (EDSS) were the main outcome measures. We identified 23 GA-treated patients (21 female, 16 aquaporin-4 antibody-positive). GA was given for <6 months in seven patients; reasons for stopping were relapses (n = 3), confirmation of NMOSD (n = 2) and side effects (n = 2). Of 16 patients treated ≥6 months with GA (15 female, 11 aquaporin-4 antibody-positive), 14 experienced at least one relapse. There was no reduction in the mean annualized relapse rate in the total group (1.9 ± 1.1 before vs. 1.8 ± 1.4 during GA therapy), as well as in those patients who were aquaporin-4 antibody-positive, or had a history of prior immunotherapy or not. The median EDSS increased (2.5 start vs. 3.5 finish of GA, P < 0.05). GA therapy was discontinued in 15/16 patients; reasons were therapeutic inefficacy in 13 and post-injection skin reactions in two patients. We conclude that GA is not beneficial for preventing attacks in most patients with NMOSD, particularly in aquaporin-4 antibody-positive cases.


Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder Devic’s disease Glatiramer acetate Aquaporin-4 antibody Optic neuritis Myelitis 



There was no specific funding for this study.

Members of the Neuromyelitis Optica Study Group (NEMOS) in alphabetical order. All institutions are in Germany, unless otherwise indicated

P. Albrecht, University of Düsseldorf; O. Aktas, University of Düsseldorf; K. Angstwurm, University of Regensburg; I. Ayzenberg, Ruhr-University Bochum; A. Berthele, Technical University Munich; F. Bischof, University of Tübingen; N. Borisow, Charité University Medicine Berlin; T. Böttcher, Bonhoeffer Klinikum Neubrandenburg; J. Brettschneider, Klinikum Herford; M. Buttmann, University of Würzburg; B. Ettrich, University of Leipzig; J. Faiss, Asklepios Klinik Teupitz; A. Gass, University Hospital Mannheim; C. Geis, University of Jena; K. Guthke, Klinikum Görlitz; J. Havla, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich; H-P. Hartung, University of Düsseldorf; K. Hellwig, Ruhr-University Bochum; B. Hemmer, Technical University Munich; F. Hoffmann, Krankenhaus Martha-Maria Halle; U. Hofstadt-van Oy, Klinikum Westfalen Dortmund; S. Jarius, University of Heidelberg; M. Kaste, Nordwest-Krankenhaus Sanderbusch; P. Kermer, Nordwest-Krankenhaus Sanderbusch; P. Kern, Asklepios Klinik Teupitz; C. Kleinschnitz, University of Würzburg; I. Kleiter, Ruhr-University Bochum; W. Köhler, Fachkrankenhaus Hubertusburg; E. Kolesilova, Asklepios Klinik Teupitz; M. Krumbholz, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich; T. Kümpfel, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich; S. Langel, Landeskrankenhaus Rheinhessen; F. Lauda, University of Ulm; M. Liebetrau, Evangelische Bathildiskrankenhaus Bad Pyrmont gGmbH; R. Linker, University of Erlangen; W. Marouf, Heliosklinik Stralsund; M. Marziniak, Isar-Amper Klinik Ost Munich; A. Melms, University of Erlangen; I. Metz, University of Göttingen; C. Mayer, University of Frankfurt; C. Münch, Charité University Medicine Berlin; O. Neuhaus, SRH Krankenhaus Sigmaringen; S. Niehaus, Klinikum Dortmund; F. Pache, Charité University Medicine Berlin; F. Paul, Charité University Medicine Berlin, H. Pellkofer, University of Göttingen; A. Riedlinger, Asklepios Klinik Teupitz; M. Ringelstein, University of Düsseldorf; L. Röpke, University of Jena; S.P. Rommer, University of Vienna (Austria); K. Ruprecht, Charité University Medicine Berlin; C. Ruschil, University of Tübingen; S. Schippling, University of Zürich (Switzerland); S. Schuster, University of Hamburg; M. Schwab, University of Jena; M. Stangel, Hannover Medical School, J. Stellmann, University of Hamburg; M. Stoppe, University of Leipzig; F. Then-Bergh, University of Leipzig; C. Trebst, Hannover Medical School; J. Tünnerhoff, University of Tübingen; H. Tumani, University of Ulm; C. Veauthier, Charité University Medicine Berlin; A. Walter, Klinikum Herford; KP. Wandinger, University of Schleswig–Holstein; M. Weber, University of Göttingen; R. Weissert, University of Regensburg; B. Wildemann, University of Heidelberg; C. Wilke, Nervenzentrum Potsdam; A. Winkelmann, University of Rostock; K. Young, University of Hamburg; L. Zeltner, University of Tübingen; C. Zentner, Martha Maria, University of Halle; U. Zettl, University of Rostock; U. Ziemann, University of Tübingen.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

Ilya Ayzenberg has received travel grants from the International Headache Society. Joanna Schöllhammer has no conflicts of interest. Robert Hoepner has no conflicts of interest. Kerstin Hellwig has received grants from the German Research Foundation. She received honoraria for speaking and research grants from Biogen Idec, Bayer, Teva, Merck, Novartis, and Genzyme. Marius Ringelstein has received speaker honoraria from Novartis and travel reimbursement from Bayer Schering, Biogen Idec and Genzyme. Orhan Aktas has received honoraria for speaking/consultation and travel grants from Bayer Healthcare, Biogen Idec, Chugai, Novartis, Merck Serono, and Teva and research grants from Bayer Healthcare, Biogen Idec, Novartis, and Teva as well as from the German Science Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, EDEN/EU-FP7). None of this interfered with the current report. Markus Krumbholz has received grant support, traveling expenses and scientific advisory board honoraria from Novartis, the Novartis foundation and Genzyme. Tania Kümpfel has received travel expenses and speaking honoraria from Bayer Healthcare, Genzyme, Teva Pharma, Merck-Serono, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, and Biogen-Idec as well as grant support from Bayer-Schering AG and Novartis. Corinna Trebst has received honoraria for speaking, consultation and expert testimony and participation in advisory boards from Bayer Vital GmbH, Biogen Idec, Genzyme GmbH, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi Aventis Deutschland GmbH. None of this interfered with the current report. Friedemann Paul has received honoraria for speaking/consultation and travel grants from Bayer Healthcare, Biogen Idec, Novartis, MedImmune, Merck Serono, Genzyme, and Teva, and research grants from the German Research Foundation, the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF/KKNMS, Competence Network Multiple Sclerosis), and the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation. Florence Pache was supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF/KKNMS, Competence Network Multiple Sclerosis) and has received funding from a research grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals and travel grants from the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) and Genzyme, a Sanofi Company. None of this interfered with the current report. Mark Obermann was supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF/KKNMS, Competence Network Multiple Sclerosis) and has received funding from a research grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals and travel grants from the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) and Genzyme, a Sanofi Company. None of this interfered with the current report. Lena Zeltner has no conflicts of interest. Matthias Schwab has no conflicts of interest. Achim Berthele has received a research grant on NMO from Bayer Healthcare and participates in a clinical phase III study on NMO sponsored by Alexion Pharmaceuticals. He has received honoraria for speaking/consultation and travel grants from Bayer Healthcare, Biogen Idec, Merck Serono, Genzyme, Novartis, and Teva. Ingo Kleiter has received honoraria for speaking/consultation and/or travel grants from Bayer Healthcare, Biogen Idec, Chugai, Merck Serono, and the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation, and research grants from Bayer Healthcare, Biogen Idec, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, as well as from the MERCUR Foundation.

Ethical Standards

This study has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. Ethics approval was obtained from the institutional review board of the Ruhr University Bochum (#4573-13) and by the institutional review boards of the participating academic centers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilya Ayzenberg
    • 1
  • Joanna Schöllhammer
    • 1
  • Robert Hoepner
    • 1
  • Kerstin Hellwig
    • 1
  • Marius Ringelstein
    • 2
  • Orhan Aktas
    • 2
  • Tania Kümpfel
    • 3
  • Markus Krumbholz
    • 3
    • 4
  • Corinna Trebst
    • 5
  • Friedemann Paul
    • 6
    • 12
  • Florence Pache
    • 6
  • Mark Obermann
    • 7
  • Lena Zeltner
    • 8
  • Matthias Schwab
    • 9
  • Achim Berthele
    • 10
  • Sven Jarius
    • 11
  • Ingo Kleiter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Neuromyelitis Optica Study Group (NEMOS)
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, St. Josef HospitalRuhr University BochumBochumGermany
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, Medical FacultyHeinrich Heine University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology, Faculty of MedicineLudwig Maximilians UniversityMunichGermany
  4. 4.Department of Neurology and Stroke, and Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain ResearchUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  5. 5.Department of NeurologyHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  6. 6.Neurocure Clinical Research Center and Clinical and Experimental Multiple Sclerosis Research Center, Department of NeurologyCharité-Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  7. 7.Department of NeurologyUniversity of EssenEssenGermany
  8. 8.Department of Neurology and StrokeUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  9. 9.Department of NeurologyJena University HospitalJenaGermany
  10. 10.Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der IsarTechnische Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  11. 11.Molecular Neuroimmunology Group, Department of NeurologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  12. 12.Experimental and Clinical Research CenterMax Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine and Charité-Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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