Recurrences, vaccinations and long-term symptoms in GBS and CIDP

J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2009 Dec;14(4):310-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8027.2009.00243.x.


We determined the frequency of recurrent Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), whether vaccinations led to recurrences of GBS or an increase of disability in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) and we assessed the prevalence of pain, fatigue and the impact on quality of life after GBS and CIDP. Additionally, we assessed the presence of common auto-immune disorders. Four hundred and sixty-one members of the Dutch society of neuromuscular disorders received a questionnaire. Two hundred and forty-five GBS and seventy-six CIDP patients were included (response rate 70%). Nine patients had a confirmed recurrent GBS, and two patients had experienced both GBS and CIDP. Common auto-immune diseases were reported in 9% of GBS and 5% of CIDP patients. None of the 106 GBS patients who received a flu vaccination (range 1-37 times, total 775 vaccinations) reported a recurrence thereafter. Five out of twenty-four CIDP patients who received a flu vaccination (range 1-17 times) reported an increase in symptoms. Pain or severe fatigue was reported in about 70% of patients after the diagnosis of GBS (median 10 years) or after onset of CIDP (median 6 years), and quality of life was significantly reduced. Flu vaccinations seem relatively safe. GBS and CIDP patients often experience pain, fatigue and a reduced quality of life for many years after the diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autoimmune Diseases / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Recurrence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Influenza Vaccines