BACKGROUND: Neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease is characterized by fever, urticarial rash, aseptic meningitis, deforming arthropathy, hearing loss, and mental retardation. Many patients have mutations in the cold-induced autoinflammatory syndrome 1 (CIAS1) gene, encoding cryopyrin, a protein that regulates inflammation. METHODS: We selected 18 patients with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (12 with identifiable CIAS1 mutations) to receive anakinra, an interleukin-1-receptor antagonist (1 to 2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day subcutaneously). In 11 patients, anakinra was withdrawn at three months until a flare occurred. The primary end points included changes in scores in a daily diary of symptoms, serum levels of amyloid A and C-reactive protein, and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate from baseline to month 3 and from month 3 until a disease flare. RESULTS: All 18 patients had a rapid response to anakinra, with disappearance of rash. Diary scores improved (P<0.001) and serum amyloid A (from a median of 174 mg to 8 mg per liter), C-reactive protein (from a median of 5.29 mg to 0.34 mg per deciliter), and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate decreased at month 3 (all P<0.001), and remained low at month 6. Magnetic resonance imaging showed improvement in cochlear and leptomeningeal lesions as compared with baseline. Withdrawal of anakinra uniformly resulted in relapse within days; retreatment led to rapid improvement. There were no drug-related serious adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Daily injections of anakinra markedly improved clinical and laboratory manifestations in patients with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease, with or without CIAS1 mutations.
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