Corticosteroids for Guillain-Barre syndrome

RAC Hughes, Pieter van Doorn

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136 Citations (Scopus)


Background Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is an acute paralysing disease caused by inflammation of the peripheral nerves, which corticosteroids would be expected to benefit. Objectives To examine the ability of corticosteroids to hasten recovery and reduce the long-term morbidity from GBS. Search methods We searched The Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Group Specialized Register (1 November 2011), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 4), CENTRAL (2011, Issue 4), MEDLINE (January 1966 to October 2011) and EMBASE (January 1980 to October 2011). Selection criteria We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs of any form of corticosteroid or adrenocorticotrophic hormone in GBS. Our primary outcome was change in disability grade on a seven-point scale after four weeks. Secondary outcomes included time from randomisation until recovery of unaided walking, time from randomisation until discontinuation of ventilation (for those ventilated), death, death or disability (inability to walk without aid) after 12 months, relapse, and adverse events. Data collection and analysis Two authors extracted the data independently. Main results No new trials were discovered in the new searches in June 2009 or November 2011. Six trials with 587 participants provided data for the primary outcome. According to moderate quality evidence, the disability grade change after four weeks in the corticosteroid groups was not significantly different from that in the control groups, mean difference (MD) 0.36 less improvement (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.16 more to 0.88 less improvement). In four trials of oral corticosteroids with 120 participa Authors' conclusions According to moderate quality evidence, corticosteroids given alone do not significantly hasten recovery from GBS or affect the long-term outcome. According to low quality evidence oral corticosteroids delay recovery. Diabetes requiring insulin was significantly more common and hypertension less common with corticosteroids.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalCochrane Database Systematics Review
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research programs

  • EMC MM-04-44-02

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