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Chronic demyelinating inflammatory polyneuropathy (CIDP)

Chronic demyelinating inflammatory polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a neurological disorder characterized by progressive weakness and impaired sensory function in the legs and arms. The disorder is caused by damage to the myelin sheath (the fatty covering that wraps around and protects nerve fibers) of the peripheral nerves. Although it can occur at any age and in both genders, CIDP is more common in young adults, and in men more so than women. CIDP is closely related to Guillain-Barré syndrome and is considered the chronic counterpart of that acute disease.

Common Symptoms

  • Tingling or numbness beginning in the toes and fingers
  • Weakness of the arms and legs
  • Loss of deep tendon reflexes
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal sensations


Treatment for CIDP includes corticosteroids such as prednisone, which may be prescribed alone or in combination with immunosuppressant drugs. Plasmapheresis (plasma exchange) and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy are effective. IVIg may be used as a first-line therapy. Physical therapy helps to improve muscle strength, function and mobility, and minimize the shrinkage of muscles and tendons and distortions of the joints.

The course of CIDP varies widely among individuals. Some have a bout of CIDP followed by spontaneous recovery, while others may have many bouts with partial recovery in between relapses. We recommend that you start treatment early to prevent loss of nerve axons. Even with early treatment, some patients are left with some residual numbness or weakness.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

For More Information

GBS/CIDP Foundation International
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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