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Guillain-Barre Syndrome (cont.)

Medical Treatment for Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Patient Comments
  • People with Guillain-Barre syndrome should have continuous heart monitoring, which includes pulse oxygenation, blood pressure, and pulse.
  • They need continuous evaluation of their airway, breathing, and circulation.
  • Fluid intake needs to be monitored.
  • The main focus of treatment, however, is supportive care and prevention of any problems. The person needs to be protected against the development of bedsores.
  • The treatment of choice for Guillain-Barre syndrome is plasmapheresis-a process in which a person's blood is removed, the plasma separated, and the blood put back into the body to build new antibodies for immunity. When used early in the disease process, plasmapheresis has been beneficial. It decreases death rates, lowers the probability of permanent problems, and shortens the length of the illness.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome Medications

Certain drugs such as heparin may be used to prevent blood clotting. Corticosteroids are not used.

Other Therapy for Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Physical therapy should be started as soon as the person can tolerate the activity. Physical therapy should include heat, which provides pain relief. The person should do range-of-motion exercises to prevent joint and muscle stiffness.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome Outlook

A majority of people with Guillain-Barre syndrome will make a complete recovery. Symptoms will gradually improve over several months.

  • Any lasting problems may be addressed through additional physical therapy. Some people might need orthopedic devices to assist with activities of daily living.
  • Some people are at risk for relapsing. They will develop chronic neuropathy (nerve problems). For these people, drugs that suppress the immune system and plasmapheresis may be helpful.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine


"Clinical features and diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/5/2016
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Guillain-Barre Syndrome in Childhood »

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), or acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP), is characterized by progressive motor weakness and areflexia.

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