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Questions When Starting a New Therapy for CIDP

Understanding the basics of treatment for CIDP, and what to ask a healthcare provider when starting a new therapy.

Intravenous plasma hangs on a medical IV stand. Plasma exchange is one potential treatment option for CIDP.

Updated on May 7, 2024

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a neurological disorder that causes inflammation and damage to the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system are the parts of the nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord (which are called the central nervous system). CIDP damages myelin, a protective layer of fats and proteins that cover nerve fibers and allow nerve signals to be transmitted quickly.

When myelin is damaged, nerves can no longer function normally. Symptoms of CIDP can include weakness, paralysis, and other problems with movement. It can also cause sensations of tingling, pins and needles, burning, and pain. These symptoms often affect the arms and legs, usually affect both sides of the body symmetrically, and progress over a period of 8 weeks. However, symptoms and the progression of symptoms can vary depending on the variant of CIDP.

Treatment for CIDP

CIDP is an autoimmune disease, a disorder where the body’s immune system damages healthy tissues. The first-line treatments for CIDP involve medications that modify how the immune system works. These include corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), and plasma exchange.

Treatment typically begins with a high dose of medications to get inflammation under control and halt further damage to the nervous system. This phase of treatment is referred to as induction therapy. This may be followed by maintenance therapy, additional treatment to help prevent the disease from relapsing. However, the therapies prescribed, the frequency of infusions, and the duration of treatment can vary from person to person.

In addition to medical therapies, treatment should also include supportive therapies like neurological rehabilitation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, which can improve function, reduce symptoms, and support overall health.

Questions when starting a new therapy

A person with CIDP may change therapies during treatment—for example, if CIDP doesn’t respond to the initial treatment, or when shifting from induction therapy to maintenance therapy.

If you are discussing different treatment options for CIDP with your healthcare provider, here are some questions to ask to know more about the therapy or therapies being recommended:

  • What is the name of the therapy? What dosage is being recommended?
  • How does this therapy work? What is the goal of using this therapy?
  • How is the therapy administered and how often?
  • How long will I be taking this therapy?
  • What are the potential benefits of this therapy?
  • What are the potential risks and side effects? Are there potential long-term impacts this therapy could have on my health?
  • What will this therapy cost? What can I do if I have concerns about the cost of treatment?
  • Are there things I should avoid doing while using this therapy? For example, eating certain foods or engaging in certain activities.
  • Can this therapy interact with other medications? Bring a list of all medications you are taking, including medications for other conditions, over-the-counter medications, and supplements.

Remember, your healthcare provider is your best source of information. If you have a question, have a concern, or want a more complete explanation, bring it up during your appointment.

Article sources open article sources

National Organization for Rare Disorders. Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy.
MedlinePlus. Myelin. 
Bhanu Gogia, Franklyn Rocha Cabrero, Mahammed Z. Khan Suheb, and Prashant K. Rai. Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy. StatPearls. June 1, 2023.
Mount Sinai. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.
David R. Cornblath, Pieter A. van Doorn, et al. Randomized trial of three IVIg doses for treating chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. Brain, 2022. Vol. 145, No. 3.
MedlinePlus. Taking medicines - what to ask your provider.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Your Medicine: Be Smart. Be Safe.

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