Guillain-Barre Syndrome ("GBS") is a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy ("CIDP") is a similar inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nervous system and is considered the chronic counterpart of GBS. GBS and CIDP can be triggered by various vaccinations such as the influenza vaccine, tetanus shot, Hepatitis B vaccine, the Gardasil vaccine, and other vaccinations.
The initial symptoms of GBS are typically numbness, weakness or tingling in the legs and arms. Those sensations can spread to the arms and upper body and can sometimes develop into symptoms of paralysis. In order to diagnose individuals with GBS, doctors employ a physical examination and diagnostic tests such as a lumbar puncture and a nerve conduction study.
Individuals who are diagnosed with GBS are typically admitted to a hospital for close monitoring until it has been determined that the symptoms have plateaued. In most cases, doctors prescribe corticosteroids, plasmapheresis (plasma exchange) and Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy, a proven effective treatment for GBS.
IVIG is a sterile solution of concentrated antibodies extracted from healthy donors which is administered into a vein. It is typically prepared from the serum of between 1000 and 15 000 donors per batch. The plasma from all of these individuals is pooled together and chemically treated to isolate the immune globulins and remove any other blood proteins or blood-borne pathogens. The end result is a purified immune globulin. For patients with GBS, IVIG is applied in a regimen of 2 g/kg bodyweight, usually as 0.4 g/kg bodyweight per day for five consecutive days.
Although IVIG is considered an effective treatment of GBS, prognosis is highly variable and difficult to predict: about 20% of patients are still unable to walk unaided after 6 months. Important variables associated with poor outcome are age, presence of preceding diarrhea and the severity of early symptoms.
The national vaccine attorneys at My Vaccine Lawyer have dedicated our careers to fighting for the victims of severe vaccine reactions including people who developed GBS or CIDP following a vaccination. If you believe you may have suffered an adverse reaction to a vaccine, please contact My Vaccine Lawyer at (800) 229-7704 for a free consultation.