Living with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) can be a challenge. The good news is that immunoglobulin (Ig) therapy can help you manage the condition. And we’re here to help you learn about the condition and Ig therapy.
CIDP is a condition that affects your peripheral nerves. All the nerve fibers in your body are protected by a fatty covering called myelin. Myelin lets the nerve fibers send their messages so your body can move and react. With CIDP, the myelin layer is damaged or missing. This slows down or blocks the nerve signals and causes weakness or even paralysis, especially of the arms and legs.
CIDP can affect people in different ways. You may have trouble walking or using your arms as muscles get weaker. Or you may feel numb or tingly or have pain in different places of your body. These symptoms are often at the same place on both sides. For example, you may feel weak in both arms. Other symptoms might be feeling tired or clumsy, having trouble swallowing and seeing double images (double vision). Some people slowly lose muscle strength while others have symptoms that get better then come back again.
Your doctor may send you to a specialist to help diagnose CIDP. They may run tests to see how fast your nerves send messages and how well your muscles work.
It’s unknown what causes CIDP or why people get it. But, it seems to be an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune means your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy parts of the body. Your immune system makes Igs to attack things like germs that can harm your body. But in CIDP, Igs attack the myelin. Learn more about how Igs work.
Several treatments are available to help manage CIDP. Some patients get better with high doses of steroids. Steroids can have side effects and aren’t meant to be taken at high doses for a long time.
Some people get what is called “plasma exchange.” This process removes the blood to filter out the Igs that are attacking the myelin. Then the blood is returned to the body. This is done every few weeks because the body is always making Igs.
Another treatment for CIDP is Ig therapy. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is given into the vein. Subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIg) is given under the skin. Both can be used to strengthen the immune system by giving it more Igs. Very high doses of Igs are needed, especially in the beginning. It’s unclear how Ig therapy helps treat CIDP, but it seems to help stop the immune system from destroying the myelin. For people with CIDP, IVIg is often infused every three to four weeks. SCIg is typically given once a week.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about CIDP.
CVS Specialty® and Coram® CVS Specialty Infusion Services (Coram) work together to dispense and administer Ig therapy to patients. To learn more about how Coram is keeping you safe and healthy at home during infusion treatments, click here.