The risk factors for treatment related clinical fluctuations, relapses occurring after initial therapeutic induced stabilisation or improvement, were evaluated in a group of 172 patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Clinical, laboratory, and electrodiagnostic features of all 16 patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome with treatment related fluctuations, of whom 13 were retreated, were compared with those who did not have fluctuations. No significant differences were found between patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome treated with plasma exchange and patients treated with intravenous immune globulins either alone or in combination with high dose methylprednisolone. None of the patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome with preceding gastrointestinal illness, initial predominant distal weakness, acute motor neuropathy, or anti-GM1 antibodies showed treatment related fluctuations. On the other hand patients with fluctuations showed a trend to have the fluctuations after a protracted disease course. It is therefore suggested that treatment related clinical fluctuations are due to a more prolonged immune attack. There is no indication that the fluctuations are related to treatment modality. The results of this study may help the neurologist to identify patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome who are at risk for treatment related fluctuations.
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- risk factors
- treatment related fluctuations
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