Landry-Guillain-Barre syndrome; Acute idiopathic polyneuritis; Infectious polyneuritis; Acute inflammatory polyneuropathy; Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
There is no cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome. However, many treatments are available to help reduce symptoms, treat complications, and speed up recovery.
When symptoms are severe, the patient will need to go to the hospital for treatment, which may include artificial breathing support.
In the early stages of the illness, treatments that remove or block the proteins that attack the nerve cells, called antibodies, may reduce the severity and duration of Guillain-Barre symptoms.
One method is called plasmapheresis, and it is used to remove the antibodies from the blood. The process involves taking blood from the body, usually from the arm, pumping it into a machine that removes the antibodies, and then sending it back into the body.
A second method is to block the antibodies using high-dose immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG). In this case, the immunoglobulins are added to the blood in large quantities, blocking the antibodies that cause inflammation.
Other treatments are directed at preventing complications.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome Foundation International -
Recovery can take weeks, months, or years. Most people survive and recover completely. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 30% of patients still have some weakness after 3 years. Mild weakness may persist for some people.
A patient's outcome is most likely to be very good when the symptoms go away within 3 weeks after they first started.
Seek immediate medical help if you have any of the following symptoms:
Hughes RA, Raphael JC, Swan AV, van Doorn PA. Intravenous immunoglobulin for Guillain-Barre syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(1):CD002063.
Hughes RA, Wijdicks EF, Barohn R, et al. Practice parameter: immunotherapy for Guillain-Barre syndrome: report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 2003;61(6):736-740.
Shy ME. Peripheral neuropathies. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 446.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885