CNS Drugs

, Volume 19, Issue 12, pp 1033–1048 | Cite as

Initial and Long-Term Management of Autoimmune Neuropathies

Therapy in Practice

Abstract

The inflammatory neuropathies (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy [CIDP], Guillain-Barré syndrome [GBS] and multifocal motor neuropathy [MMN]) affect only one to two individuals per 100 000 of the population, but result in major disability and impairment.

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) can be used as an initial treatment for CIDP, GBS and MMN. While plasma exchange and corticosteroids can also be used initially, they are not as uniformly effective for each of these disorders as IVIg. Substituting corticosteroids, plasma exchange or immunosuppressants may be appropriate for patients not responding to initial IVIg therapy, and combination therapy may be needed in some patients.

There are no data from controlled clinical trials of long-term management strategies for CIDP and MMN; however, empirical evidence suggests that a positive long-term response to IVIg can be achieved by increasing the initial dose or its frequency of administration. Corticosteroids and immunosuppressants may be appropriate in some patients with CIDP. Adverse events with IVIg are usually mild and not treatment limiting; however, patients do need to be monitored for uncommon, but serious, adverse events such as renal insufficiency, stroke and thromboembolic events. Nevertheless, the safety profile of IVIg is exceptional relative to the potential complications of other long-term treatments for CIDP and MMN, especially corticosteroids and immunosuppressants.

Predictors of response have been reported for each of the neuropathies, and until controlled clinical trials provide evidence on which to base treatment strategies, effective management will require individualising therapy according to patient response.

Keywords

Etanercept Plasma Exchange Monoclonal Gammopathy IVIg Therapy Multifocal Motor Neuropathy 

Notes

Acknowledgements

No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The author has no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.

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© Adis Data Information BV 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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