Effect of intravenous immunoglobulin on pain in patients with post-polio syndrome
Lars Werhagen , Kristian Borg
Objective: Pain is a common symptom that affects quality of life in patients with post-polio syndrome. An increase in cytokine in the cerebrospinal fluid suggests that inflammation is pathophysiologically important in post-polio syndrome. Intravenous immunoglobulin might therefore be a therapeutic option. The aim of this study was to analyse the effect of intravenous immunoglobulin treatment on pain in post-polio syndrome.
Methods: An uncontrolled clinical study. Patients with post-polio syndrome and pain (n = 45) underwent a neurological examination and were interviewed about pain before and 6 months after treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin. Pain intensity was measured on a visual analogue scale. The pain was classified according to the International Association for the Study of Pain criteria as neuropathic when it occurred in an area with decreased sensibility, or nociceptive when signs of inflammation and/or painful joints movements were present.
Results: After treatment 31/45 (69%) patients were improved, with a mean visual analogue scale decrease from 53 to 42 (p = 0.001). Eighteen patients (40%) had a decrease of 20 or more points on the visual analogue scale. The effect of treatment did not differ regarding age, gender and severity of disability.
Conclusion: Two-thirds of 45 patients with post-polio syndrome and pain reported a decrease on the visual analogue scale for pain after treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin, and 40% reported a decrease of 20 or more points on the visual analogue scale.
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