Immunosuppressive treatment for multifocal motor neuropathy.

T. Umapathi, R. A. Hughes, E. Nobile-Orazio, J. M. Léger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Multifocal motor neuropathy is a distinct clinical entity characterised by progressive, predominantly distal, asymmetrical limb weakness and minimal sensory abnormality. The pathognomonic feature of this condition is the presence of multiple partial motor nerve conduction blocks. Controlled trials have demonstrated the efficacy of regular intravenous immunoglobulin infusions. Immunosuppressive agents have been used as primary, second-line or adjunctive agents for its treatment. This review was undertaken to identify and review systematically randomised controlled trials of immunosuppressive agents. The use of intravenous immunoglobulin will be the subject of a separate review. OBJECTIVES: To provide the best available evidence from randomised controlled trials on the role of immunosuppressive agents for the treatment of multifocal motor neuropathy. SEARCH STRATEGY: The Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Group register was searched for all trials of multifocal motor neuropathy published, using 'multifocal motor neuropathy' OR 'chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy' OR ' conduction block' OR ' motor neuropathy' AND 'immunosuppressive agents', 'immunosuppressants', 'corticosteroids', 'plasma exchange', 'azathioprine', 'cyclophosphamide', 'cyclosporin', 'methotrexate', and 'mycophenolate', 'immunomodulatory agents', 'interferon', 'total lymphoid irradiation' or 'bone marrow transplantation' as search terms. In addition we searched MEDLINE, EMBASE for 2000 and 2001 and CINAHL, LILACS for all years. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised controlled trials and quasi-randomised clinical trials in which allocation was not random but was intended to be unbiased (e.g. alternate allocation) were to have been selected. Since no such trials were discovered, all prospective and retrospective case series were included in 'background' or 'discussion' sections of the review. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: All studies on multifocal motor neuropathy or lower motor neuron weakness with conduction block and no sensory abnormality were scrutinized for data on patients treated with any form of immunosuppressive agents besides intravenous immunoglobulin. The information on the outcome of treatment was then collated and summarised. MAIN RESULTS: We found no randomised controlled trials of any immunosuppressive agents for multifocal motor neuropathy. We summarised the results of retrospective and prospective case series in the discussion of the review. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: There are no randomised controlled trials to indicate whether immunosuppressive agents are beneficial in multifocal motor neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Cochrane database of systematic reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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