This article focuses on the unconventional treatments used in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). First line, evidence-based treatments for CIDP include corticosteroids, immunoglobulins and plasma exchanges. Several unproven treatments are however given in treatment-refractory disease or to reduce requirements in validated therapies for reasons of side effects/practical delivery/cost. Despite methodological issues, IFN-α, azathioprine and methotrexate have not been shown to be useful in randomized controlled trials. Cyclophosphamide, rituximab and, as final resort in highly selected cases, hematopoietic stem cell transplant may be options considered in severely disabled refractory patients. Debatably, azathioprine, methotrexate, cyclosporine and mycophenolate mofetil are still occasionally used, among others, in milder disease. Physical therapy may be of benefit in CIDP but is not systematically considered as an integral part of management strategies. Current literature relating to unconventional therapies in CIDP is reviewed here and the possible avenues that require consideration in severe refractory disease and less disabling forms are discussed.
- autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant
- chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
- physical therapy