Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 30 Suppl 1 (Suppl 1), S74-8

IVIG Treatment and Prognosis in Guillain-Barré Syndrome


IVIG Treatment and Prognosis in Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Pieter A van Doorn et al. J Clin Immunol.


Introduction: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute, immune-mediated polyneuropathy that often leads to severe weakness. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a proven effective treatment for GBS (class 1 evidence). However, about 25% of patients need artificial ventilation and 20% are still unable to walk unaided after 6 months. Important clinical factors associated with poor outcome are age, presence of preceding diarrhea and the severity of disability in the early course of disease. These clinical factors were combined in a clinical prognostic scoring scale, the Erasmus GBS Outcome Scale (EGOS).

Materials and methods: GBS patients being unable to walk unaided are currently treated with a standard single IVIg dose (0.4 g/kg bodyweight for 5 days). A recent retrospective study in 174 GBS patients enrolled in one of our randomized controlled clinical trials showed that patients with a minor increase of serum IgG level after standard single IVIg dose recovered significantly slower. Additionally, fewer patients reached the ability to walk unaided at six months after correction for the known clinical prognostic factors (multivariate analysis; P < 0.022).

Discussion: It is yet unknown why some GBS patients only have a minor increase after standard IVIg treatment. By using the EGOS it is possible to select GBS patients with a poor prognosis. These patients potentially may benefit from a second IVIg dose.

Conclusion: A standard dose of IVIG is not sufficiently effective in many GBS patients. Whether these patients might benefit from a second IVIg dose needs further investigation.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Variations in course of disease in GBS. Indicated are the courses of disease in mildly and severely affected GBS patients. The effect of IVIG in GBS has only been investigated in randomized controlled trials in patients unable to walk unaided at nadir (severely affected patients) and not in mildly affected patients (able to walk unaided at nadir). Whether mildly affected GBS patients may also benefit from IVIG is yet unknown. GBS patients who initially improve or stabilize after IVIG and subsequently deteriorate again have a “treatment-related fluctuation” (GBS-TRF): a condition that usually responds to an additional IVIG dose. Some GBS patients have a severe course of disease and a slow recovery phase. The prognosis of GBS patients can be determined using the Erasmus GBS Outcome Scale. Whether a second IVIG dose is effective in patients with a poor prognosis is not known yet

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 22 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Hughes RA, Cornblath DR. Guillain–Barré syndrome. Lancet. 2005;366:1653–1666. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67665-9. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Doorn PA, Ruts L, Jacobs BC. Clinical features, pathogenesis, and treatment of Guillain–Barré syndrome. Lancet Neurol. 2008;7:939–950. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(08)70215-1. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Jacobs BC, Rothbarth PH, Meché FG, Herbrink P, Schmitz PI, Klerk MA, et al. The spectrum of antecedent infections in Guillain–Barré syndrome: a case-control study. Neurology. 1998;51:1110–1115. - PubMed
    1. Asbury AK, Cornblath DR. Assessment of current diagnostic criteria for Guillain–Barré syndrome. Ann Neurol. 1990;27:S21–S24. doi: 10.1002/ana.410270707. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Willison HJ. The immunobiology of Guillain–Barré syndromes. J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2005;10:94–112. doi: 10.1111/j.1085-9489.2005.0010202.x. - DOI - PubMed

MeSH terms