The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has released new guidelines on the use of a treatment called intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) in various neuromuscular disorders.
The disorders in MDA's program that are included in the guidelines are myasthenia gravis (MG), Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS), dermatomyositis (DM), polymyositis (PM) and inclusion-body myositis (IBM).
A patient friendly summary of the guidelines is available on the AAN website.
The AAN guidelines are based on published scientific evidence of the effectiveness of IVIG:
Immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, are proteins normally made by the body's immune system to fight infection.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, infusing immunoglobulins taken from pooled blood donations appears to quell an immune response in some circumstances.
In some autoimmune diseases, in which an immune response is misdirected and attacks healthy tissues, intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) have apparently helped to "reset" a renegade immune system.
IVIG treatment, however, is not always effective and can be dangerous. For example, it has been associated with swelling around the brain and spinal cord, blood clots, impairment of heart function, kidney failure and hives.
In a paper published in Neurology March 27, 2010, a subcommittee of the AAN announced the results of a search of the medical literature published from 1966-2009 on IVIG for neuromuscular disorders.
Based on the evidence from this search, the committee made the following recommendations about five diseases in MDA's program: