Immune mediated neuropathies--an update on therapeutic strategies.J Neurol. 2004 Feb; 251(2):127-37.JN
This paper reviews recent treatment strategies of immune mediated neuropathies, in particular it includes data regarding Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN), neuropathy with IgM monoclonal gammopathy and other dysglobulinemic neuropathies. In the treatment of Guillain- Barré syndrome, there is no significant difference between IVIg, plasma exchange or plasma exchange followed by IVIg. However, for reasons of convenience and safety, IVIg is used as standard treatment in most centers. There is so far insufficient evidence for the use of corticosteroids in the therapy of GBS. In treating CIDP corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin and plasma exchange seem to be equally effective. However, the high costs and relative lack of availability of IVIg, the only short-term benefit and the invasive nature of the plasma exchange procedure, and on the other hand serious long-term side effects of corticosteroids are the most important disadvantages of these treatments and have to be taken into consideration before a decision about therapy can be made. In multifocal motor neuropathy the intravenous immunoglobulin therapy is the only treatment that has been shown to be effective in controlled trials. However, inadequate response in a proportion of patients, high cost and variable availability of IVIg show the need for the search of adjunctive immunosuppressive therapies. Neuropathies with IgM monoclonal gammopathy may improve after treatment with chemotherapeutic agents, though the long-term effects are not known. In addition, such treatment modalities may be associated with serious side effect and even severe toxicity. Recent data support the use of a new promising drug: Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody directed against the B cell surface membrane marker CD 20.