Immunotherapy for diabetic amyotrophy

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Jun 13;(6):CD006521. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006521.pub3.


Background: People with diabetes mellitus (DM) sometimes present with acute or subacute, progressive, asymmetrical pain and weakness of the proximal lower limb muscles. The various names for the condition include diabetic amyotrophy or diabetic lumbosacral radiculoplexus neuropathies. Some studies suggest that it may be due to immune-mediated inflammatory microvasculitis causing ischaemic damage of the nerves. Immunotherapies would therefore be expected to be beneficial. This is an update of a review first published in 2009.

Objectives: We aimed to review the evidence from randomised trials for the efficacy of any form of immunotherapy in the treatment of diabetic amyotrophy.

Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Group Specialized Register (7 February 2012), CENTRAL (2012 Issue 1), MEDLINE (January 1966 to January 2012) and EMBASE (January 1980 to January 2012), and contacted authors of relevant publications and other experts to obtain additional references, unpublished trials, and ongoing trials.

Selection criteria: We intended to include all randomised and quasi-randomised trials of any immunotherapy in participants with the condition fulfilling all the following: diabetes mellitus as defined by internationally recognised criteria, acute or subacute onset of pain and lower motor neuron weakness involving predominantly the proximal muscles of the lower limbs, weakness that is not confined to one nerve or nerve root distribution and exclusion of other causes of lumbosacral radiculopathies and plexopathy.

Data collection and analysis: Two authors independently examined all references retrieved by the search to select those meeting the inclusion criteria.

Main results: We found only one completed controlled trial using intravenous methylprednisolone in diabetic amyotrophy (Dyck 2006). The results have not been fully published and were not available for analyses. We found no additional trials when the searches were updated in 2012.

Authors' conclusions: There is presently no evidence from randomised trials to support any recommendation on the use of any immunotherapy treatment in diabetic amyotrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Neuropathies / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*