Objective: Achieving long-term remission after a limited more intense treatment period would prevent prolonged use of corticosteroids or IV immunoglobulin (IVIg) in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP). In this prospective cohort study we present long-term follow-up data on patients included in a multicenter randomized controlled trial comparing 6 monthly pulses of dexamethasone with 8 months of daily prednisolone.
Methods: Treatment effect was assessed with the Inflammatory Neuropathy Cause and Treatment disability scale and the Rivermead Mobility Index and was categorized using the CIDP Disease Activity Status (CDAS) scale.
Results: By March 2011, 39 out of 40 patients were included with a median follow-up of 4.5 years. Cure (>5 years off treatment) or remission according to the CDAS criteria after 1 or 2 courses of pulsed dexamethasone or daily prednisolone was achieved in 10 out of 39 patients (26%). Half of the patients who were in remission after initial treatment experienced a relapse (median treatment-free interval: 17.5 months for dexamethasone, 11 months for prednisolone). Alternative diagnosis was made in 7 out of 12 (58%) who did not respond to any therapy and in none of the treatment-responsive patients.
Conclusions: Cure or long-term remission can be achieved in about one-quarter of patients with CIDP after 1 or 2 courses of pulsed dexamethasone or 8-month daily prednisolone. In treatment-nonresponsive patients, the diagnosis CIDP should be reconsidered.
Classification of evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that pulsed dexamethasone or 8-month daily prednisolone can lead to long-term remission in CIDP.