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Case report
Rapid visual recovery following intravenous tocilizumab in glucocorticoid resistant refractory giant cell arteritis


A 72-year-old man presented with a short history of headache, jaw claudication, double vision, amaurosis fugax and distended temporal arteries. A diagnosis of giant cell arteritis (GCA) was confirmed on temporal artery ultrasound and temporal artery biopsy. Despite treatment with high-dose oral glucocorticoid (GC) and multiple pulses of intravenous methylprednisolone, his vision deteriorated to hand movements in one eye. 8 mg/kg intravenous tocilizumab, a humanised, recombinant anti-IL-6 receptor antibody, was administered within 48 hours of vision loss and continued monthly, resulting in marked visual improvement within days, as well as sustained remission of GCA. This case suggests a possible role for tocilizumab as a rescue therapy to prevent or recover visual loss in patients with GCA resistant to GC treatment, termed refractory GCA. Further research is required to elucidate the role of intravenous administration of tocilizumab in this setting.

  • Ophthalmology
  • Rheumatology
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