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Treatment for Guillain-Barre syndrome is supportive. Early tracheostomy is indicated if there is progressive bulbar and respiratory weakness. The latter may be monitored with serial peak flow measurements.

Severe hypotension due to autonomic disturbance may require pressor drugs, especially in the elderly.

Specific treatment for Guillain-Barre syndrome consists of high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IvIg) or plasma exchange

  • both treatments have been shown to decrease recovery times if instituted early in the course of the disease
  • IvIg is favoured by many as it is easier to administer and has fewer complications than plasma exchange (e.g. sepsis) (1)

There is no role for the use of steroids.


  • (1) Ghazi AH, Hirsch N. Neuromuscular disorders: relevance to anaesthesia and intensive care Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine 2008; 9 (6): 237-239

Last reviewed 01/2018