We report here the results of therapeutic trials in 200 patients with HTLV-I-associated myelopathy (HAM)/tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP) conducted in our department between 1986 and 1993. Motor disability grades were improved by more than one grade in 69.5% (91/131) of patients by oral administration of prednisolone, 50% (3/6) by eperisone hydrochloride only, 43.8% (7/16) by blood purification (lymphocytapheresis and plasmapheresis), 40.0% (2/5) by intrathecal injection of hydrocortisone, 30.0% (3/10) by intravenous injection of high-dose methylprednisolone, 23.3% (10/43) by interferon-alpha (intramuscular injection and inhalation), 22.2% (2/9) by azathioprine, 20.0% (4/20) by high-dose vitamin C, 16.0% (4/25) by erythromycin, 12.5% (3/24) by salazosulfapyridine, 11.8% (2/17) by mizoribine, 7.1% (1/14) by fosfomycin, and 6.3% (1/16) by thyrotropin releasing hormone. No critical side effects of these therapies were seen with the exceptions of one patient with adult respiratory distress syndrome due to cytomegalovirus infection and one patient with drug-induced hepatitis/hepatic failure. Selection of these treatments for patients with HAM/TSP must be considered on the basis of age, sex, disease severity and complications to reduce adverse events and to improve quality of life. Although the results were a synopsis of different treatments given to 200 patients with HAM/TSP as an open trial, we consider this the first report of a large-scale therapeutic trial in patients with HAM/TSP. The results of this study indicate that immunomodulatory therapies have some beneficial effects in HAM/TSP, and the functions of these agents are related to the pathophysiology of this disease.
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