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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;(2):CD002063.

Intravenous immunoglobulin for Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neuroimmunology, Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, Guy's Hospital, London, UK, SE1 9RT. richard.a.hughes@kcl.ac.uk

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a potentially serious, acute, paralysing, probably autoimmune disease caused by inflammation of the peripheral nerves. Recovery has been shown to be speeded by plasma exchange which replaces the patient's own plasma with a plasma substitute. Intravenous immunoglobulin purified from donated blood is beneficial in other autoimmune diseases and is easier to administer.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulin in comparison with no treatment or other treatments for treating Guillain-Barré syndrome and to determine the most efficacious dose.

SEARCH STRATEGY:

Search of the Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Group register using Guillain-Barré syndrome and acute polyradiculoneuritis as the search terms, bibliographies of trials and contact with their authors and other experts.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Randomised and quasi-randomised trials.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two reviewers examined the titles and abstracts of all the papers retrieved by the search, extracted the data onto forms designed for this review, and independently assessed the quality of the trials.

MAIN RESULTS:

The only trial comparing intravenous immunoglobulin with supportive treatment was inadequate to establish its value. Another Cochrane systematic review has shown that plasma exchange (PE) hastens recovery. Plasma exchange has become the gold standard against which other treatments need to be compared. We found three randomised trials that compared intravenous immunoglobulin with PE. We were able to combine the results of the two largest trials in a metaanalysis involving 398 patients. The primary outcome measure in this review was the change in a 7 grade disability scale four weeks after randomisation. The weighted mean difference of this measure was not significant, being only 0.11 (95% CI -0.14 to 0.37) of a disability grade more improvement in the intravenous immunoglobulin group than the PE group. There were also no significant differences in other outcome measures, including time to walk unaided, mortality, and proportion of patients unable to walk without aid after a year but some of these outcome measures were only available for one trial. We also reviewed one trial involving 249 patients which compared PE followed by intravenous immunoglobulin with PE alone and another involving 37 patients which compared immunoabsorption followed by intravenous immunoglobulin with immunoabsorption alone. Neither revealed any significant differences between the regimens with and without intravenous immunoglobulin. We did not discover any dose ranging studies of intravenous immunoglobulin except for one that is ongoing.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS:

There are no adequate trials to determine whether intravenous immunoglobulin is more beneficial than placebo. Intravenous immunoglobulin and plasma exchange have a similar ability to speed the recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. Giving intravenous immunoglobulin after plasma exchange is not significantly better than plasma exchange alone. Randomised trials are needed to decide whether intravenous immunoglobulin helps in mild Guillain-Barré syndrome or in disease which has lasted more than two weeks. Randomised trials also need to establish the optimal dose.

PMID:
11406030
DOI:
10.1002/14651858.CD002063
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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