Enceph-IG Study

Autoimmune encephalitis, inflammation and swelling of the brain caused by the body’s own immune defence system, affects about 1 in 100,000 people per year in the UK.

Image of vialIt is sometimes associated with anti-neuronal antibodies, and is being recognised increasingly. Some patients recover completely, but in others it causes death or severe disability. The disease is treated with steroids. If patients are not improving intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is often added, usually after a couple of weeks, but its efficacy is unknown. IVIG is expensive, and can have side effects, including blood clots or allergic reactions. There is currently clinical equipoise about its use.

The aim of the Enceph-IG study is to determine whether in adults with autoimmune encephalitis, treatment with early IVIG leads to a different recovery time to improve the outcome, and determine the mechanism by which it might do this. The results will lead to rationalisation of the use of IVIG in autoimmune encephalitis.

Enceph-IG is an individually randomised controlled trial of 356 adults: half will receive IVIG, and the other half will receive a placebo. The study will be carried out at approximately 50 hospitals in the Brain Infections UK network.

The Chief investigator is Professor Tom Solomon from the University of Liverpool’s Brain Infections Group. The study is funded by the NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme. For more information or to contact us visit the website of the Centre for Trials Research - Cardiff University.

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