What is Mollaret's Meningitis?
Periods of severe illness usually last 3-4 days, separated by weeks or months between recurrences. However, many sufferers experience milder relapses, which although debilitating, do not necessitate hospitalization.
Unfortunately, along with each recurrence, whether mild or severe, comes the risk of further disability. Nearly half of those with the disease experience long-term negative effects of the nervous system. Permanent disabilities that can develop over time include memory loss, difficulty retaining information, lack of concentration, abnormal reflexes, clumsiness, coordination problems, loss of balance, residual headaches, hearing problems, tinnitus, speech problems, dizziness, learning difficulties (ranging from temporary learning deficiencies all the way to long term mental impairment), tachycardia, epilepsy, seizures, paralysis, muscle spasms, cerebral palsy, loss of sight, and changes in sight.
There are no vaccines currently available to prevent the development of viral meningitis. Many people who have a rare disease understandably want to find healthcare professionals or researchers with knowledge of their condition. However, with a condition as rare as Mollaret’s Meningitis, it can be extremely difficult to find medical professionals who have treated more than one or two cases.
Valcyclovir is another medication similar to Acyclovir that has also been found helpful. Other common medications also administered for the subsequent pain during recurrences include NSAIDS (Motrin, Advil), Hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin Lortab), morphine, and hydromorphone (Dilaudid). Anti-seizure medications such as Gabapentin (Neurontin), Pregabalin (Lyrica), Lamotrigine (Lamictal) have also been used.
With Mollaret’s meningitis, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of any drug therapy because the very nature of the disease is spontaneous and recurrent. The rarity of the disease also makes it difficult to create solid documentation of clinical trials studying the effectiveness of different antiviral drugs. However, there are some medications known to be contraindicated for the treatment of Mollaret’s meningitis, those being phenylbutazonum, steroids, antihistamines, colchicine, and estrogen.
For those that have obtained an allergy to Acyclovir, and other antivirals, Lysine seems to be effective at helping to minimize symptoms.
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 – 2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is not always positive, particularly if done more than 3-4 days after onset of acute illness.
- Duration of recurrent meningeal signs / symptoms can be variable.
- Pain management is an important component of treatment since meningitis can be extremely painful for patients.
– James J. Sejvar, M.D., Neuroepidemiologist, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology and Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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We have created a pamphlet that gives information about this disease for providers. You can chose the color or black and white versions.