Guillain-Barre Syndrome – Treatment of Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Guillian-barre syndrome is an uncommon disorder where the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The damaged peripheral nerves cause numbness and weakness of extremities. These symptoms are spread slowly to the entire body leading to paralysis. The cause of the syndrome is not known but it is believed that it is preceded by an infection, surgery or vaccination. It is a rare disorder affecting about 1 to 2 out of 100,000 people.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome Treatment
Although there is no cure to guillain-barre syndrome, it can be treated such that the severity of the syndrome can be reduced. The treatment methods for guillain-barre syndrome are:
Doctor may prescribe medications such as:
- Analgesics for joint and muscle pains
- Relaxants for muscle spasms
- Corticosteroids to treat autoimmune disorders
- Antidepressants or anticonvulsants for painful tingling
- Stronger pain medications for severe pains
Immunoglobulins present in the blood of donors contain healthy antibodies. Large doses of immunoglobulin given intravenously to the affected person since the damaging antibodies contribute to guillain-barre syndrome.
This is also known as plasma exchange and is a type of blood cleansing method. In this process, blood is removed and passed through a series of filters that separates the different types of blood cells. The blood cells are suspended in synthetic or donor plasma and again injected into the patients body. It is not clear how this treatment works. But scientists believe that this method removes the damaging antibodies such that immune system doesn’t attack on the peripheral nerves.
Treating the affected person with all the above treatment methods together is more effective than treating with one method alone. After providing treatments, patient should be given physical therapy during recovery phase to help regain strength and proper movement.
Coping and Support
Guillain-barre syndrome has devastating impact on many affected people. It can change an healthy person to physically helpless and illness state. It can develop such a severe complications that the affected people will be dependent on others to manage daily activities. They may also develop emotional and mental stress because of the illness. Hence they need to be taken to mental health provider and therapist. Family counseling is also recommended so that they can adjust to the changes caused by the syndrome.