Public Release: 

Guideline: IVIg effective for certain nerve and muscle disorders

American Academy of Neurology

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Intravenous immune globulin (IVIg) is an effective treatment for certain disorders of the nerve and muscles, including Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and a form of neuropathy called chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), according to a guideline issued by the American Academy of Neurology. The guideline is published in the March 27, 2012, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

IVIg is a type of immunotherapy that fights the misdirected immune system. It is not well understood exactly how IVIg works, but it likely regulates an overactive immune system. Immune globulin is a protein in human blood that likely links itself with antibodies or other substances directed at the nerve.

According to the guideline, strong evidence shows that IVIg effectively treats Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system, causing tingling and weakness in the arms and legs. The evidence shows that IVIg works as well as the treatment called plasma exchange to treat GBS.

Strong evidence also shows that long-term use of IVIg can help treat CIDP, which is the chronic counterpart of GBS and can affect nerves in the arms and legs and other parts of the body.

"Serious side effects are rare with IVIg, but there is a risk of kidney failure and a condition that causes the blood to be more likely to form clots," said guideline lead author Huned S. Patwa, MD, of Yale University and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "It is important to work with your doctor when deciding whether to use IVIg for a neuromuscular disorder."

The guideline also found that IVIg is effective in helping to treat moderate to severe forms of myasthenia gravis and a rare condition known as multifocal motor neuropathy. It may also be helpful in treating neuromuscular disorders known as nonresponsive dermatomyositis and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome.

###

Learn more about this latest guideline and nerve and muscle disorders at http://www.aan.com/patients.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 25,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.