Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy Medication

Updated: Jul 26, 2021
  • Author: Emad R Noor, MBChB; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, CPE, MHCM, FAAPL  more...
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Medication Summary

Immunomodulatory therapy with either IVIg or plasmapheresis has been demonstrated to result in more rapid recovery of AIDP than other treatments or no treatment. Recent large studies have demonstrated that the 2 treatments are equal in efficacy. Bedridden and critically ill patients also require treatment to prevent complications.

The mechanism of action of plasma exchange is not known. Suggested mechanisms include the removal of antibody, complement components, immune complexes, lymphokines, and acute-phase reactants. The generally recommended regimen includes every other day plasma exchange, totaling 6 exchanges in 2 weeks, with 3-3.5 L exchanged per treatment. If venous access is not of sufficient quality to ensure rapid blood withdrawal, a central line should be a consideration (in about 20% of cases).

Plasmapheresis (PE) is more frequently associated with severe adverse effects requiring cessation of therapy, including a bleeding diathesis. In addition, PE requires special, appropriate equipment and trained personnel. Also, younger children may be at risk for bleeding after insertion of wide catheters. Transient hypotension, which might occur, is corrected by adjusting the inflow-to-outflow ratio. Other common side effects include paresthesias, and rarely hypersensitivity reactions and hypocalcemia.


Immunomodulatory agents

Class Summary

AIDP is believed to be caused by immune dysregulation resulting from an attack against myelin. Therapy directed at the immune system can result in more rapid recovery. IVIG is especially proven highly effective in children.

Immune globulin IV (IVIg)

IVIg is prepared from serum pooled from many donors by fractionation and purification. Most manufacturers include a detergent step to help prevent spread of viruses. Mechanism of action is poorly understood. However, it is believed to act by down-regulating antibody and cytokine production and by neutralizing antibodies specific for myelin. Also appears to down-regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1 and gamma-IFN. Other proposed mechanisms are Fc receptor blockade and interference with complement cascade (ie, interfering with opsonization).

Plasmapheresis or plasma exchange

This treatment entails removing blood from body, spinning it to separate cells from plasma, and replacing cells suspended in fresh frozen plasma, albumin, or saline. Can be performed using either 2 large-bore peripheral IV sites or multiple lumen central line.

May not be effective if started more than 2 wk after onset of symptoms.


Anticoagulant agents

Class Summary

Bedridden patients are at risk for deep venous thrombosis. This risk can be reduced by mild anticoagulation.


Given subcutaneously, interacts with antithrombin III to decrease clot proliferation. This can result in decreased incidence of deep venous thrombosis.