Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy has become one of the most treatable forms of neuropathy. There are currently multiple modalities that we are able to use for the treatment of CIDP. Since CIDP is an immune mediated neuropathy, where the immune system is attacking the nerves, treatment of CIDP is aimed at modulating the immune system to stop the attack. Once the immune system stops attacking the nerves, the nerves could start to regenerate and reverse the symptoms of CIDP.
One category of treatment options include immunosuppressant such as cytoxan, Imuran, and CellCept. These medications weaken the immune system so that it doesn't attack the nerves.
Another potent treatment option is IVIG. IVIG is a pool of antibodies obtained from more than a thousand people. These antibodies are infused into the patient and they protect the nerves of the body from being attacked. The mechanism by which IVIG works is complex and is thought to involve multiple pathways. A simplistic way to look at IVIG is as a temporary replacement of the immune system. Since the patient has a large pool of external antibodies the patient does not need to make its own antibodies, which are the antibodies responsible for attacking the nerves. The advantage of IVIG over other treatment options is that with IVIG, the patient does not have a weak immune system, they actually have a stronger immune system and tend to get infections less often.
The next option is plasmapheresis. In this process the patient's blood is filtered and the antibodies and proteins that are responsible for attacking the nerves are removed from the blood.
In most patients we are able to see improvement using these treatment options alone or in combination. In patients in whom these treatment options are not effective, there are other treatment options available. There are a class of medications where specific antibodies are synthesized and they could be aimed to knockout specific parts of the immune system, they are called monoclonal antibodies.
When used properly, these treatment options are very effective with minimal side effects. In most patients we are able to significantly improve their symptoms even in the most difficult and severe cases. If you have been diagnosed with CIDP, we can help.