Intravenous immunoglobulin response in treatment-naïve chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy

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There is no consensus on which treatment should be used preferentially in individual patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). Patients unlikely to respond to intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) could be prescribed corticosteroids first to avoid high cost and a delayed treatment response. We investigated which factors determined a response to IVIg.


Treatment-naïve patients with CIDP initially treated with at least one full course of IVIg (2 g/kg) at one of two neuromuscular disease centres were included. Patients fulfilled the European Federation of Neurological Societies/Peripheral Nerve Society clinical criteria for CIDP. Significant improvement following IVIg was defined as an improvement (≥1 grade) on the modified Rankin scale. Difference in weakness between arms and legs was defined as ≥2 grades on the Medical Research Council scale between ankle dorsiflexion and wrist extension. Clinical predictors with a p value <0.15 in univariate analysis were analysed in multivariate logistic regression.


Of a total of 281 patients, 214 patients (76%) improved. In univariate analysis, the presence of pain, other autoimmune disease, difference in weakness between arms and legs, and a myelin-associated glycoprotein negative IgM monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance were associated with no response to IVIg. In multivariate analysis no pain (p=0.018) and no difference in weakness between arms and legs (p=0.048) were independently associated with IVIg response. Of IVIg non-responders, 66% improved with plasma exchange and 58% with corticosteroids.


IVIg is a very effective first-line treatment. Patients with CIDP presenting with pain or a difference in weakness between arms and legs are less likely to respond to IVIg.

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