Drug-Induced Demyelinating Neuropathies

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019:1190:357-369. doi: 10.1007/978-981-32-9636-7_23.


A large variety of drugs have been reported to cause peripheral neuropathies as dose-limiting adverse effects; however, most of them primarily affect axons and/or neuronal cell bodies rather than Schwann cells and/or myelin sheaths. In this chapter, we focus on the drugs that seem to elicit the neuropathies with schwannopathy and/or myelinopathy-predominant phenotypes, such as amiodarone, dichloroacetate, and tumor necrosis factor-α antagonists. Although the pathogenesis of demyelination induced by these drugs remain largely obscure, the recent in vivo and in vitro studies have implicated the involvement of metabolic abnormalities and impaired autophagy in Schwann cells and immune system disorders in the disruption of neuron-Schwann cell contact and interactions.

Keywords: Amiodarone; Dichloroacetate; Myelinopathy; Schwann cells; Tumor necrosis factor-α antagonists.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amiodarone / adverse effects
  • Axons
  • Demyelinating Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Dichloroacetic Acid / adverse effects
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Myelin Sheath / drug effects
  • Myelin Sheath / pathology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Schwann Cells / drug effects
  • Schwann Cells / pathology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Dichloroacetic Acid
  • Amiodarone