Post-polio syndrome: Pathophysiological hypotheses, diagnosis criteria, drug therapy

Ann Phys Rehabil Med. 2010 Feb;53(1):34-41. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Dec 31.


Post-polio syndrome (PPS) refers to a clinical disorder affecting polio survivors with sequelae years after the initial polio attack. These patients report new musculoskeletal symptoms, loss of muscular strength or endurance. PPS patients are tired, in pain and experience new and unusual muscular deficits, on healthy muscles as well as deficient muscles initially affected by the Poliovirus. Once a clinical diagnosis is established, the therapeutic options can be discussed. Some pathophysiological mechanisms have been validated by research studies on PPS (inflammatory process in cerebrospinal fluid [CSF] and cytokines of the immune system). Several studies have been conducted to validate medications (pyridostigmine, immunoglobulin, coenzyme Q10) or physical exercises protocols. This article focuses on the relevance and efficacy that can be expected from these therapeutics. Very few studies reported some improvements. Medications combined to individual and supervised exercise training programs are promising therapeutic strategies for PPS patients care management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / therapeutic use
  • Postpoliomyelitis Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Postpoliomyelitis Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Postpoliomyelitis Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Pyridostigmine Bromide / therapeutic use
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives
  • Ubiquinone / therapeutic use
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Vitamins
  • Ubiquinone
  • coenzyme Q10
  • Pyridostigmine Bromide
  • Prednisone