Multifocal Motor Neuropathy: Is There Hope?

August 9, 2021 — Multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN) is a rare disease affecting the body’s motor nerves and occurs in less than 1 in every 100,000 people. While this disease is rare, it is not fatal, and there is approved treatment that can slow symptoms. There is hope.

Below, you’ll find information on MMN symptoms, treatment, and financial assistance for high MMN medical costs.

What is Multifocal Motor Neuropathy?

MMN is a progressive, auto-immune disorder that affects motor nerves, which help control the muscles. Men are twice as likely to develop MMN as women, and it is typically diagnosed between the ages of 35 and 70. 

While the cause is unknown, it is known that the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own nerve cells as if they were invaders. Researchers continue to try to find out why this happens.

MMN is a progressive disorder, which means that the signs and symptoms tend to worsen slowly over time, with no remission. 

Symptoms of Multifocal Motor Neuropathy 

The main symptom of MMN is progressive muscle weakness of the arms and legs. While this disease is not fatal, it can cause a great deal of dysfunction and disability for a person.

Unlike other neurological disorders affecting the arms and legs, there are usually no sensory deficits, meaning feelings of tingling or numbness and pain are not associated with the disorder. MMN also affects the right and left sides of the body differently. 

Muscle weakness often begins in the hands, causing hand weakness. Affected individuals may drop objects frequently or have difficulty performing tasks that require fine motor skills such as turning a key in a lock. Some individuals have trouble extending or bending their wrist upward (wrist drop). 

Sometimes, muscle weakness starts in the legs. Foot drop is the first sign in a third of MMN patients, which causes reduced mobility of the toes. Foot drop occurs when weakness of the muscles involved in lifting the foot causes the foot to drop or drag when attempting to walk. 

Symptoms also include muscle wasting, cramping, and involuntary contractions or twitching of the leg muscles. Patients with MMN can have fasciculations, which are the spontaneous firing of a motor unit. 

Fasciculations are also characteristic of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which is why many patients with MMN are initially misdiagnosed with ALS. The similarities can cause delays in diagnosis, therefore a delay in treatment. 

Multifocal Motor Neuropathy Treatment

While there is no cure, treating patients with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), an infusion-based treatment, benefits patients with MMN. 

IVIg treatment can reverse the conduction block, which allows nerves to reach the proper muscles. It can also reduce the chances of developing new nerve lesions and slow the progression of deficits. 

Researchers believe that the conduction block in multifocal motor neuropathy is reversible.

Where We Come In

Accessia Health has a newly established fund to help patients with MMN. We provide financial assistance with copays, infusion and nursing costs, and travel expenses.

To see if you qualify for assistance, check out our prescreening tool and apply today. You can also call us at 1-800-366-7741 or donate here.