Background and purpose: We hypothesized that subcutaneous administration of immunoglobulins (SCIG) in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) is feasible, safe and superior to treatment with saline for the performance of muscle strength.
Methods: Thirty patients with motor involvement in maintenance therapy with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) fulfilling the EFNS/PNS criteria for CIDP, aged 18-80 years, were randomized either to SCIG at a dose corresponding to their pre-study IVIG dose or to subcutaneous saline given twice or thrice weekly for 12 weeks at home. At the start and end of the trial as well as 2 weeks before (-2, 0, 10, 12 weeks), isokinetic strength performance of four predetermined and weakened muscle groups was measured. Also, an Overall Disability Sum Score (ODSS), 40-m-walking test (40-MWT), nine-hole-peg test, Neurological Impairment Score (NIS), Medical Research Council (MRC) score, grip strength, standardized electrophysiological recordings from three nerves, and plasma IgG levels were evaluated.
Results: SCIG treatment was well tolerated in all 14 patients. Six patients complained of mild side-effects at the injection site. In the SCIG group there was an increase of isokinetic muscle strength of 5.5 ± 9.5% (P < 0.05) as compared with a decline of 14.4 ± 20.3% (P < 0.05) in the placebo group; the difference between the two groups being significant (P < 0.01). ODSS, NIS, MRC, grip strength and 40-MWT improved following SCIG versus saline.
Conclusions: SCIG treatment in CIDP is feasible, safe and effective, and seems an attractive alternative to IVIG.
© 2013 The Author(s) European Journal of Neurology © 2013 EFNS.