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Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2009 Jan 21;(1):CD001797.

Intravenous immunoglobulin for chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy.

Eftimov F, Winer JB, Vermeulen M, de Haan R, van Schaik IN.


Department of Neurology, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, PO Box 22700, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1100 DE.



Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) causes progressive or relapsing weakness and numbness of the limbs, developing over at least two months. Uncontrolled studies suggest that intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) helps.



Seven randomised controlled trials were considered eligible including 287 participants. These trials were homogeneous and overall quality was high. Five studies on 235 participants compared IVIg against placebo. One trial with 20 participants compared IVIg with plasma exchange and one trial compared IVIg with prednisolone in 32 participants. A significantly higher proportion of participants improved in disability within one month after IVIg treatment as compared with placebo (relative risk 2.40, 95% confidence interval 1.72 to 3.36). Whether all these improvements are equally clinically relevant cannot be deduced from this analysis because each trial used different disability scales and definitions of significant improvement. In three trials including 84 participants the disability could be transformed to the modified Rankin score, on which significantly more patients improved one point after IVIg treatment compared to placebo (relative risk 2.40, 95% confidence interval 0.98 to 5.83). Only one study included in this review had a long-term follow-up. The results of this study suggest that intravenous immunoglobulin improves disability more than placebo over 24 and 48 weeks. The mean disability score revealed no significant difference between IVIg and plasma exchange at six weeks. There was no significant difference in improvement in disability on prednisolone compared with IVIg after two or six weeks. There were no statistically significant differences in frequencies of side effects between the three types of treatment.


The evidence from randomised controlled trials shows that intravenous immunoglobulin improves disability for at least two to six weeks compared with placebo, with a number needed to treat of 3.00. During this period it has similar efficacy to plasma exchange and oral prednisolone. In one large trial, benefit of IVIg persisted for 24 and possibly 48 weeks.

Lancet Neurol.

2012 Jun;11(6):493-502. Epub 2012 May 10.


Intravenous immunoglobulin versus intravenous methylprednisolone for chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy: a randomised controlled trial.

Nobile-Orazio E, Cocito D, Jann S, Uncini A, Beghi E, Messina P, Antonini G, Fazio R, Gallia F, Schenone A, Francia A, Pareyson D, Santoro L, Tamburin S,Macchia R, Cavaletti G, Giannini F, Sabatelli M; IMC Trial Group.


Department of Translational Medicine, Milan University, 2nd Neurology, IRCCS Humanitas Clinical Institute, Rozzano, Milan, Italy.



Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) and corticosteroids are effective as initial treatment in patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP), but little is known about the comparative risk-benefit profile of their long-term use in this disease. We compared the efficacy and tolerability of 6-month therapy with IVIg versus that with intravenous methylprednisolone.


We did a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled, parallel-group study in patients with CIDP. We assessed efficacy and tolerability of IVIg (0.5 g/kg per day for 4 consecutive days) and intravenous methylprednisolone (0.5 g in 250 mL sodium chloride solution per day for 4 consecutive days) given every month for 6 months. Eligible patients had to be in an active or stationary phase of the disease. Allocation to treatment was centrally managed with a computer-generated, 1:1 randomisation scheme with a sequential block size of four. All patients and assessors were unaware of the treatment assignment. After therapy discontinuation, patients were followed up for 6 months to assess relapses. The primary outcome was the difference in the number of patients discontinuing either therapy owing to inefficacy or intolerance. Secondary endpoints included the difference in the proportion of patients experiencing adverse events or worsening after therapy discontinuation. This study is registered with EUDRACT, number 2005-001136-76.


45 patients (24 IVIg, 21 intravenous methylprednisolone) completed the study; one was excluded for inappropriate inclusion. More patients stopped methylprednisolone (11 [52%] of 21) than IVIg (three [13%] of 24; relative risk 0.54, 95% CI 0.34-0.87; p=0.0085). When adjusted for sex, age, disease duration, comorbidity, modified Rankin scale and ONLS scores at enrolment, and previous treatment with IVIg and steroids, the difference between the two groups remained significant (odds ratio 7.7, 95% CI 1.7-33.9; p=0.0070). Reasons for discontinuation were lack of efficacy (eight in the methylprednisolone group vs three in the IVIg group), adverse events (one in the methylprednisolone group), or voluntary withdrawal (two in the methylprednisolone group). Two patients on IVIg died during follow-up after the 6-month assessment. The proportion of patients with adverse events did not differ between the intravenous methylprednisolone group (14 [67%] of 21) and the IVIg group (11 [46%] of 24; p=0.1606). After therapy discontinuation, more patients on IVIg worsened and required further therapy (eight [38%] of 21) than did those on methylprednisolone (none of ten; p=0.0317).


Treatment of CIDP with IVIg for 6 months was less frequently discontinued because of inefficacy, adverse events, or intolerance than was treatment with intravenous methylprednisolone. The longer-term effects of these treatments on the course of CIDP need to be addressed in future studies.

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