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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 120-122

A comparative study of IVIG versus IVIG with IV methylprednisolone in guillain–barre syndrome

1 Department of Neurology, Government Medical College, Kota, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Medicine, Government Medical College, Kota, Rajasthan, India

Date of Submission15-Jul-2019
Date of Acceptance28-Oct-2019
Date of Web Publication21-Jan-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rahi Kiran Bhattiprolu
Department of Neurology, Government Medical College, Kota, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aian.AIAN_378_19

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How to cite this article:
Bhattiprolu RK, Sardana V, Maheshwari D, Bhushan B, Shringi P, Jain P, Shah V, Patel B. A comparative study of IVIG versus IVIG with IV methylprednisolone in guillain–barre syndrome. Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2020;23:120-2

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Bhattiprolu RK, Sardana V, Maheshwari D, Bhushan B, Shringi P, Jain P, Shah V, Patel B. A comparative study of IVIG versus IVIG with IV methylprednisolone in guillain–barre syndrome. Ann Indian Acad Neurol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Jun 5];23:120-2. Available from:


Guillain–Barre syndrome (GBS) manifests as areflexic motor paralysis with or without sensory disturbance. Usually, prognosis is good with 90% recovery.[1] Global annual incidence is reported as 0.6–2.4 cases/lakh/year.[2] Till date, there are no incidence studies in Indian population. Etiology of GBS is not known but about 70% cases were preceded 1 to 3 weeks before by respiratory or gastrointestinal infections. Theories suggest autoimmune mechanism in which antibodies are triggered to damage myelin.[3],[4]

Available treatment modalities include intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) and plasma exchange (PLEX) efficacy of which was already proven. The role of steroids has been a matter of debate since many decades. In a developing country like India, steroids are affordable and user friendly making them the theoretically reasonable agents. Though high-dose steroids have not produced the anticipated efficacy during their application for nearly 60 years, there is still no strong evidence demonstrating or denying their efficacy. Our study is mainly intended to know their effect when added to standard approved treatment with IVIg.

Aim is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intravenous methylprednisolone (ivMPS) when added to IVIg in GBS patients.

This is a single-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study conducted over 1 year from April 2018 to March 2019 with 1 month follow-up period after getting ethical clearance. A total of 46 patients equally divided into two groups by simple randomization in an alternate basis were recruited after written informed consent. Group A patients were given IVIg 0·4 g/kg/day for 5 days and placebo (normal saline). Group B patients were given IVIg along with ivMPS 1 g/d for 5 days, IVIg being started within 48 h of administration of first dose of ivMPS. If any of the exclusion criteria is met, patients were not included. Patients were blinded of the treatment they are receiving. Investigator blinding was not possible due to manpower shortage.

Patients were assessed on admission, on discharge, during the follow-up period of 1 month by

  • GBS disability score
  • Modified Rankin scale (mRS) score.

Primary endpoint - improvement from baseline by one or more grades after 1 month.

Inclusion criteria- Patients ≥12 years, symptoms of weakness began within 1 week before the date of admission, willing to sign the informed consent form, AIDP and AMAN variants of GBS.

Exclusion criteria- Age <12 years, previous episodes of GBS, other variants of GBS, abortive GBS, patients treated elsewhere before admission with therapies other than IVIG or ivMPS, previous severe allergic reaction to matched blood products, known selective immunoglobulin A deficiency, pregnancy, contraindications for steroids, severe concurrent disease, foreseeable difficulties precluding follow-up, patients with respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation, mRS score >3 before this illness.

Statistical analysis was done using SPSS 20. Quantitative variables were compared using mean and qualitative variables using proportions. Significance level is P ≤ 0.05.

Statistical tests used are Chi-square test (χ2), Independent sample T test and Mann–Whitney U test.

Mean age of presentation was 40 [Figure 1] with Male: female ratio 2.53. Half had AIDP and the other half had AMAN variant. All variables which can affect treatment response and thereby prognosis were compared between two groups [Table 1]. comparison of various scores using Mann–Whitney Test was not significant (P = 0.05) [Table 2]. A number of patients achieving primary outcome in Group-A were 18 (78%) and Group-B were 19 (82%) which was not significant (P = 0.05) [Figure 2]. None of our patients developed treatment-related fluctuations within the follow-up period.
Figure 1: Age distribution of various types of GBS variants

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Table 1: Variables which can affect treatment response and outcome (independent sample t-test)

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Table 2: Comparison of outcome scores between the two treatment groups (Mann.Whitney test)

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Figure 2: Number of patients achieving primary end point

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Various immunosuppressive treatments were tried with variable success rate.[5] Outcome is generally favorable with mortality seen in <5%. No difference was found between IVIg and PLEX with respect to improvement in disability grade after 4 weeks, duration of mechanical ventilation, mortality, or residual disability. As IVIg is safer and more convenient than PLEX, IVIg became the treatment of choice for GBS.[6] Trials till date have not studied the effect of IVIg or PLEX in mildly affected patients. In our study, we had included patients with mild disease also and did not find any added benefit of steroids. Cochrane meta-analysis of six randomized trials indicated no beneficial effect of corticosteroids.[7] The guideline on GBS treatment in 2003 recommended PLEX and IVIg solely but no steroids.

In 1994, Dutch Guillain-Barre Study Group reported a before-after trial in 25 patients on effect of high-dose ivMPS when added to IVIg indicating a beneficial effect at 4 weeks as measured with the GBS disability score.[8] So, a multi-center clinical randomized controlled trial by van Koningsveld et al. was initiated and results were published in 2004.[9] The reasons for considering steroid therapy in our study includes: previous open label studies and pilot study showed their effectiveness in GBS, steroids are effective in CIDP which is immunologically similar to GBS, no prior Indian studies done to know synergistic effect of combined treatment, easy availability, and cost-effectiveness of steroids in India.

In our study, male to female ratio was 2.53:1 comparable with other Indian studies in which ratio ranged from 1.5:1 to 3.5:1.[10] Mean age of presentation in our study was 40 years similar to studies by Shrivastava et al.[11] and Habib et al.[12] Previous Indian studies showed AIDP to be common variant, but our study had equal occurrence of both AIDP and AMAN variants [Table 3]. Unfortunately, there were no previous large Indian studies comparing the available immunosuppressant modalities. In present study, we had compared treatment outcome between two predefined groups. Although the proportion of patients achieving primary end point were more in Group B, difference was not significant (P = 0.05). Our findings were similar to study by van Koningsveld et al.[9] Even today, about 15% of patients with GBS die or are left disabled even after administration of approved therapies. Though our study did not indicate significant outcome difference, these two drugs might work synergistically to influence the disease outcome. Limitations may reduce validity of this study include: Small sample size, quasi randomization, and single blinding leading to various biases.
Table 3: Comparison of outcome scores between AIDP and AMAN variants of GBS (Mann-Whitney test)

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We conclude that ivMPS along with IVIg offers no added benefit in GBS. Due to lack of previous studies in India, limited side effects, easy availability, and cost-effectiveness of steroids, our study highlights the need for further investigation of this combined treatment in GBS patients. Also, our study highlights the need for newer immunosuppressive agents, such as mycophenolate, rituximab, and others in GBS. Large sample size and double blinding might have improved the validity of the results.


The authors would like to thank entire Department of Neurology, Government Medical College, Kota who had made the preparation of this article possible.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patient (s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

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McGrogan A, Madle GC, Seaman HE, de Vries CS. The epidemiology of Guillain-Barré syndrome worldwide. A systematic literature review. Neuroepidemiology 2009;32:150-63. doi: 10.1159/000184748.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hauser SL, Asbury AK. Guillain-Barre syndrome and other immune-related neuropathies. In: Fauci AS, Braunwald E, Kasper DL, Hauser SL, Longo D, Jameson JL, et al., editors. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed, vol II. New York: Mc Graw-Hill; 2015. p. 2694-700.  Back to cited text no. 3
Donaghy M. Polyneuropathy. Brain's Diseases of Nervous system. 12th ed. New York: Oxford University press; 2009. p. 563-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Rossi, Locatelli F. Effect of methylprednisolone in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Lancet 2004;363:1236-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
van der Meché FG, Schmitz PI. A randomized trial comparing intravenous immune globulin and plasma exchange in Guillain-Barré syndrome. Dutch Guillain-Barré Study Group. N Engl J Med 1992;326:1123-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
Hughes RAC, van der Meché FGA. Corticosteroids for Guillain-Barré syndrome (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, issue 3. Oxford: Update Software; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 7
The Dutch Guillain-Barré Study Group. Treatment of Guillain-Barré syndrome with high-dose immune globulins combined with methylprednisolone: A pilot study. Ann Neurol 1994;35:749-52.  Back to cited text no. 8
van Koningsveld R, Schmitz PIM, van der Meché FGA. The Dutch GBS Study Group Effect of methylprednisolone when added to standard treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin for Guillain-Barré syndrome: Randomised trial. Lancet 2004;363:192-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
Vyas A, Jaiswal K, Swami S, Rankawat MS. Clinical profile of adults with Guillain Barre Syndrome in North-West Rajasthan, India. Int J Adv Med 2016;3:519-22.  Back to cited text no. 10
Shrivastava M, Nehal S, Seema N. Guillain–Barre syndrome: Demographics, clinical profile and seasonal variation in a tertiary care centre of central India. Indian J Med Res 2017;145:203-8. doi: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_995_14.  Back to cited text no. 11
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Habib R, Saifuddin M, Islam R, Rahman A, Bhowmik NB, Haque MA. Clinical profile of Guillain Barre’ syndrome-observations from a tertiary care hospital of Bangladesh. BIRDEM Med J 2017;7:38-42.  Back to cited text no. 12


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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