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Clinical Significance of Repetitive Compound Muscle Action Potentials in Patients with Myasthenia Gravis::A Predictor for Cholinergic Side Effects of Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors
Hyo Eun Lee, Yool-hee Kim, Seung Min Kim, Ha Young Shin
Background and Purpose
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) are widely used to treat myasthenia gravis (MG). Although AChEIs are usually tolerated well, some MG patients suffer from side effects. Furthermore, a small proportion of MG patients show cholinergic hypersensitivity and cannot tolerate AChEIs. Because repetitive compound muscle action potentials (R-CMAPs) are an electrophysiologic feature of cholinergic neuromuscular hyperactivity, we investigated the clinical characteristics of MG patients with R-CMAPs to identify their clinical usefulness in therapeutic decision-making.
We retrospectively reviewed the clinical records and electrodiagnostic findings of MG patients who underwent electrodiagnostic studies and diagnostic neostigmine testing (NT).
Among 71 MG patients, 9 could not tolerate oral pyridostigmine bromide (PB) and 17 experienced side effects of PB. R-CMAPs developed in 24 patients after NT. The highest daily dose of PB was lower in the patients with R-CMAPs (240 mg/day vs. 480 mg/day, p<0.001). The frequencies of PB intolerance and side effects were higher in the patients with R-CMAPs than in those without R-CMAPs [37.5% vs. 0% (p<0.001) and 45.8% vs. 12.8% (p=0.002), respectively]. The MG Foundation of America postintervention status did not differ significantly between MG patients with and without R-CMAPs, and the response to immunotherapy was also good in both groups.
Side effects of and intolerance to AChEIs are more common in MG patients with R-CMAPs than in those without R-CMAPs. AChEIs should be used carefully in MG patients with R-CMAPs. The presence of R-CMAPs after NT may be a good indicator of the risks of PB side effects and intolerance.