Since the cause of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is unknown, there is currently no known cure. However, there are a variety of treatment options that have proven effective for managing the symptoms of GBS and reducing the risk of relapse.
For anyone who has been diagnosed with GBS following receipt of a vaccination, it is critical to see a physician who is knowledgeable about available treatment options. Two primary forms of treatment have proven to be largely effective in helping to manage the symptoms of GBS, while additional treatment options can help fight the immediate and long-term effects of GBS.
Primary Forms of Treatment: Plasmapheresis and Immunoglobulin Therapy
- Plasmapheresis (Plasma Exchange Therapy) - Plasmapheresis is a common form of treatment for multiple variants of GBS. During plasmapheresis, also known as plasma exchange therapy, blood is removed from the patient’s body, cleansed of plasma, and then reintroduced into the body so that the plasma can be replaced. While scientists are unsure exactly why plasmapheresis has proven effective for treating the symptoms of GBS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) points to the removal of antigens and antibodies as a potential factor.
- Immunoglobulin Therapy - Similar to plasmapheresis, immunoglobulin therapy can be used to combat the autoimmune response associated with multiple variants of GBS. Immunoglobulin therapy, also known as intravenous immunoglobulin, involves injecting the patient with proteins (immunoglobulins) that the immune system then uses to counteract the effects of the disorder. Generally speaking, plasmapheresis and immunoglobulin therapy are considered equally effective in treating the symptoms of GBS. Patients should consult their doctors to determine which option is best given their personal medical histories and present health conditions.
Additional Treatment Options for GBS
Along with plasmapheresis and immunoglobulin therapy, under certain circumstances other treatment options may be appropriate (or necessary) for treating patients diagnosed with GBS. Additional treatment options for GBS may include:
- Mechanical ventilatory assistance (to keep the body functioning during the recovery process)
- Other forms of mechanical intervention (including use of heart monitors and other assistive medical devices)
- Physiotherapy (including moving patients’ limbs to maintain muscle flexibility)
Importantly, while steroid therapy was previously considered an effective treatment option for GBS, NINDS now cautions against using steroids for certain patients, as clinical studies have shown that they can actually worsen the effects of some variants of GBS.
When to Seek Treatment for GBS
Due to the potential immediate and long-term effects of GBS, anyone experiencing the symptoms of GBS should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Although rare, complications of GBS affecting the respiratory system (resulting in difficulty breathing), blood pressure or heart rate should be treated as a medical emergency.
Have You Been Diagnosed with Vaccine-Related GBS? Contact GBS Vaccine Lawyer Today.
GBS Vaccine Lawyer is a national law practice devoted to helping individuals diagnosed with vaccine-related GBS. We offer free initial consultations, and through the VICP we are able to provide our services at little or no financial cost to you. To find out if you may be entitled to compensation for vaccine-related GBS, call us at (202) 775-9200 or request your free consultation online today.