GBS is considered a medical emergency and most patients are admitted to intensive care soon after diagnosis. Though GBS can improve spontaneously, there are a number of treatments that facilitate recovery.
Should abnormalities of the internal organs develop, a variety of treatments are available. Bedside measurements of 'breathing capacity' may be performed, daily or even hourly. If there is sufficient weakness of breathing muscles, mechanical ventilation may be initiated. Both high and low blood pressure as well as unusually slow or rapid heart beats can occur, and blood flow tends to be slow in the leg and pelvic veins or paralyzed patients. Blood thinners could be used or special elastic stockings may be provided to prevent clot formations.
Like GBS, CIDP can improve spontaneously. However, recovery may be very slow and the illness can either get progressively better or worse, or can follow a relapsing/remitting course. Most patients with GBS and CIDP are treated with plasmapheresis or immunoglobulin. Corticosteroids may be used to treat CIDP but are not used to treat GBS, as it worsens rather than improves the condition.
There is no known cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome, but therapies can lessen the severity of the illness and accelerate the recovery in most patients. There are also a number of ways to treat the complications of the disease. Currently, plasmapheresis (also known as plasma exchange) and high-dose immunoglobulin therapy are used. Plasmapheresis seems to reduce the severity and duration of the Guillain-Barré episode. In high-dose immunoglobulin therapy, doctors give intravenous injections of the proteins that in small quantities, the immune system uses naturally to attack invading organism. Investigators have found that giving high doses of these immunoglobulins, derived from a pool of thousands of normal donors, to Guillain-Barré patients can lessen the immune attack on the nervous system. The most critical part of the treatment for this syndrome consists of keeping the patient's body functioning during recovery of the nervous system. This can sometimes require placing the patient on a ventilator, a heart monitor, or other machines that assist body function.
Intragam (immunoglobulin) or IVIG or similar is often used instead of plasmapheresis. Large doses of immunoglobin given intravenously can help shorten the duration of symptoms. It is usually a five day course of treatment. There are sometimes mild side effects throughout Treatment. Intragam gives a massive boost to the immune system. This treatment is extremely expensive but is usually given free of charge to patients who require it.
INTRAGAM P is prepared from blood obtained from Australian voluntary, non-remunerated donors.
Patients diagnosed early in the course of the disease and those who are acutely ill often respond well to blood plasma exchange (plasmapheresis). In this procedure, blood is withdrawn and passed through a series of filters that separate the different types of blood cells. The blood cells are then suspended in donor or synthetic plasma and returned to the patient's body. Plasmapheresis is thought to remove the substances that damage myelin. It can shorten the course of GBS, alleviate symptoms, and prevent paralysis.