Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: prognosis and outcome

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Dec;35(3):175-84. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2005.08.008.


Objectives: To identify clinical characteristics, laboratory features, approaches to management, and predictors of outcome of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods: An analysis of 6 adults with the concurrent diagnosis of CIDP and SLE seen at a SLE Clinic from 1994 to 2004 with a review of 13 patients with SLE and CIDP reported in the medical literature from 1950 through 2004.

Results: Among our 6 patients with SLE and CIDP, 3 (50%) achieved a substantial clinical response to intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) and the remainder had a minimal response. The improved patients were more likely to have received treatment earlier (within 1 year of CIDP onset) and to respond faster (<1 to 3 months) than minimally improved patients. They tended to have CIDP features of weakness of all extremities, hyporeflexia of the upper extremities, and slowed nerve conduction velocity of the motor median nerve. Compared with minimal responders, responders had more serious internal organ manifestations and multiple autoantibodies associated with SLE. Review of the literature identified 13 previously reported CIDP patients with SLE. Many had neurological involvement of all extremities, nerve biopsies showing demyelination, and serious SLE internal organ manifestations. Most were treated with steroids, but the 1 treated with IVIg had similar characteristics to our subset of patients who improved with IVIg.

Conclusions: CIDP is an uncommon, but not rare, manifestation of SLE. Certain characteristics including early CIDP diagnosis, involvement of all 4 extremities, hyporeflexia of the upper extremities, and slowed motor nerve conduction velocity of the median nerve in addition to SLE involvement of critical internal organs and the presence of multiple antibodies associated with SLE all appear to predict a good response to IVIg.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Median Nerve / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / complications*
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / drug therapy
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Immunologic Factors