A person whose mother suffered recurrent transverse myelitis (TM) recently developed optic neuritis (ON) and wrote to ask about therapies. Here is my response.

I am very sorry to hear about your mother. As you know, optic neuritis (ON) associated with transverse myelitis (TM) suggests that your mother has an autoimmune disease similar to multiple sclerosis. This condition is sometimes associated herpes viral infections, an autoimmune condition called lupus erythematosus and Sjogren's syndrome. Unfortunately, as you also know, there is no known therapy other than use of steroids during a relapse.

The transverse myelitis association (http://www.myelitis.org/) has a useful site that provides information about clinical trials (http://www.myelitis.org/studies.htm) but unfortunately none of these are testing therapies. I suspect, however, that some of the therapies that are now being used to treat multiple sclerosis might be useful for TM and ON. These include some of the interferon therapies and perhaps even 4-aminopyridine.

If you have a neurologist, you might want to talk to him/her to consider a trial of some MS therapies for your mother.

Wise.