Amyloidosis medical therapy

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Amyloidosis Microchapters


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Historical Perspective


Primary amyloidosis
Secondary amyloidosis
Familial amyloidosis
Wild-type (senile) amyloidosis
Cardiac amyloidosis
Beta-2 microglobulin related amyloidosis
Gelsolin related amyloidosis
Lysozyme amyloid related amyloidosis
Leucocyte cell-derived chemotaxin 2 related amyloidosis
Fibrinogen A alpha-chain associated amyloidosis



Differentiating Amyloidosis from other Diseases

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Shyam Patel [2]


There are few available treatments for primary amyloidosis. Since the disease is typically discovered at an advanced stage, the initial treatment is aimed at preventing further organ damage and correcting the effects of organ failure.

Medical Therapy

Primary Amyloidosis (AL):

Some patients with primary amyloidosis respond to chemotherapy focused on the abnormal plasma cells. A stem cell transplant may be done, as in multiple myeloma.

The most commonly used regimen for AL amyloidosis is CyBorD, which consists of cyclophosphamide, bortezomib, and dexamethasone.[1]

Therapy Mechanism of Action Dosing Adverse Effects


  • Cycles 1-4: 1.3mg/m2 IV/SC on days 1, 4, 8, 11, 22, 25, 29, 32
  • Cycles 5-9: 1.3mg/m2 IV/SC on days 1, 8, 22, 29

Peripheral neuropathy, VZV reactivation, hepatic impairment, asthenia, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, arthralgia, edema, dizziness


  • 40mg PO weekly

Infections, immunosuppression, bone loss, cataract formation, glaucoma, muscular atrophy


  • 6mg PO daily for 2-3 weeks, OR
  • 10mg PO daily for 7-10 days, OR
  • 0.15mg/kg daily PO for 7 days, THEN
  • 1-3mg or 0.05mg/kg PO daily after counts recover

Myelosuppression, nausea, vomiting, pulmonary fibrosis, stomatitis


  • 40-50mg/kg weekly

Myelosuppression, nausea, vomiting, hemorrhagic cystitis, secondary malignancies


  • 0.3mg/kg weekly

Dyspepsia, dyspnea, erythema, bronchitis, blurry vision


  • Anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody
  • Depletes B lymphocytes and plasma cells
  • 16mg/kg weekly for weeks 1-8, then every 2 weeks for weeks 9-24, then every 4 weeks thereafter

Anemia, neutropenia, false positive indirect Coomb's test, infusion reaction, lymphopenia

Treatment options with limited success include melphalan, prednisone, and colchicine.

Secondary Amyloidosis (AA):

  • Medical or surgical treatment of the underlying chronic infection or inflammatory disease is recommended among all patients who develop AA amyloidosis.
  • Aggressively treating the disease that is causing the excess amyloid protein can improve symptoms and slow down or halt the progression of the disease.
  • Complications such as heart failure, renal failure, and other problems can sometimes be treated, when needed.
  • Although the choice of therapy depends on the underlying cause of chronic inflammation, the aim is always to suppress production of SAA to within the normal range.
  • Examples of treatments for the commonest disorders underlying AA amyloidosis:[4]
Underlying Condition Treatment Options Examples
Inflammatory arthritis Conventional disease-modifying agents
  • Gold
  • Hydroxychloroquine sulfasalazine
  • Azathioprine
  • Methotrexate

Other immunosuppressant agents

  • Cyclosporine
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Mycophenolate
  • Leflunomide

Biologic agents

  • Infliximab
  • Etanercept
  • Adalimumab
  • Tocilizumab
  • Rituximab
Periodic fevers On-demand agents
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Prednisone

Colchicine (for familial mediterranean fever)


Biologic agents

  • Anakinra
  • Canakinumab
Inflammatory bowel disease Conventional disease-modifying agents
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Mesalazine
  • Azathioprine
  • Methotrexate

Biologic agents

  • Infliximab
  • Adalimumab


  • Metronidazole
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Azithromycin

Biologic agents

  • Infliximab
  • Adalimumab


ileo-cecal resection and primary reconstruction

Immunodeficiency Immunoglobulins


  • Cotrimoxazole
  • Miconazole
Chronic infections Antibiotics and surgery

Physiotherapy (in case of bronchiectasis)

Immunodeficiency Immunoglobulins


  • Cotrimoxazole
  • Miconazole
Neoplasia Chemotherapy and surgery

Varies according to type of cancer

Biologic agents (in Castleman disease)

  • Tocilizumab
  • Long-term inflammatory control can be accompanied by gradual regression of amyloid deposits and improvement in renal function.
  • Currently a second clinical trial is in progress in order to evaluate a targeted inhibitor molecule, Kiacta, in the management of secondary amyloidosis.
  • Novel therapies aimed at promoting clearance of existing amyloid deposits soon may be an effective treatment approach.

Wild-Type or Senile Amyloidosis (ATTRwt):

  • Treatment is generally aimed at the symptoms of wild-type ATTR amyloidosis, such as treating amyloid deposits in the heart.
    • Because the heart is the most commonly affected organ, your disease will be monitored and treated by a cardiologist.
  • For some patients with severe wild-type (senile) ATTR amyloidosis, a heart transplant may be the best option. Stanford is one of the world's leading centers for heart transplantation for amyloidosis.
  • In patients with transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy, tafamidis was associated with reductions in all-cause mortality and cardiovascular-related hospitalizations and reduced the decline in functional capacity and quality of life as compared with placebo.[5]
  • In ATTRwt amyloidosis, therapy is supportive, but both for this disease and for ATTR, pharmacologic therapies aimed at stabilizing the transthyretin molecule and thus preventing amyloid formation are being actively investigated.

Familial Amyloidosis (ATTR):

  • The optimal therapy for familial amyloidosis is removal of the source of abnormal TTR production.
    • The liver is the dominant source of transthyretin; hence, in patients with less advanced disease, liver transplant may be performed.
    • Patients with severe heart involvement may benefit from a heart transplant.
  • In addition, multiple clinical trials are now testing medications that may slow or halt progression of familial ATTR amyloidosis.
    • Tafamidis is a drug recently approved for familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP) in Europe.[6]
      • This agent is being tested in ongoing trials for other forms of ATTR.
    • Patisiran and Inoteresen are TTR gene silencers. Recently FDA approved their use for ATTRm amyloidosis with peripheral neuropathy.[7]
  • Genetic counseling is recommended for individuals with hereditary amyloidosis and their family members.

Dialysis-related amyloidosis (β2-microglobulin)

  • There is no specific medical treatment for DRA.
  • However, removal of significant amounts of beta2-microglobulin (beta2-m) may prevent or slow progression of the disease.
  • This can be accomplished best by kidney transplantation.
  • Other treatment opitons include:
    • Hemodialysis with a biocompatible high-flux dialysis membrane, hemodiafiltration
    • The use of ultrapure dialysate
    • A beta2-m adsorbent column may also result in lowering the level of beta2-microglobulin.
  • Kidney transplantation is considered the definitive treatment for DRA in patients with end-stage renal disease.


  1. Milani P, Merlini G, Palladini G (2018). "Novel Therapies in Light Chain Amyloidosis". Kidney Int Rep. 3 (3): 530–541. doi:10.1016/j.ekir.2017.11.017. PMC 5976806. PMID 29854961.
  2. Adams D, Suhr OB, Dyck PJ, Litchy WJ, Leahy RG, Chen J; et al. (2017). "Trial design and rationale for APOLLO, a Phase 3, placebo-controlled study of patisiran in patients with hereditary ATTR amyloidosis with polyneuropathy". BMC Neurol. 17 (1): 181. doi:10.1186/s12883-017-0948-5. PMC 5594468. PMID 28893208.
  3. van de Donk NW, Janmaat ML, Mutis T, Lammerts van Bueren JJ, Ahmadi T, Sasser AK; et al. (2016). "Monoclonal antibodies targeting CD38 in hematological malignancies and beyond". Immunol Rev. 270 (1): 95–112. doi:10.1111/imr.12389. PMC 4755228. PMID 26864107.
  4. Papa R, Lachmann HJ (2018). "Secondary, AA, Amyloidosis". Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 44 (4): 585–603. doi:10.1016/j.rdc.2018.06.004. PMID 30274625.
  5. Maurer MS, Schwartz JH, Gundapaneni B, Elliott PM, Merlini G, Waddington-Cruz M; et al. (2018). "Tafamidis Treatment for Patients with Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy". N Engl J Med. 379 (11): 1007–1016. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1805689. PMID 30145929.
  6. Maurer MS, Schwartz JH, Gundapaneni B, Elliott PM, Merlini G, Waddington-Cruz M; et al. (2018). "Tafamidis Treatment for Patients with Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy". N Engl J Med. 379 (11): 1007–1016. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1805689. PMID 30145929.
  7. Benson MD, Waddington-Cruz M, Berk JL, Polydefkis M, Dyck PJ, Wang AK; et al. (2018). "Inotersen Treatment for Patients with Hereditary Transthyretin Amyloidosis". N Engl J Med. 379 (1): 22–31. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1716793. PMID 29972757.

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