What are the treatment options for Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

There is no known cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome. However, some therapies can lessen the severity of the illness and shorten recovery time. There are also several ways to treat the complications of the disease.

Because of possible complications of muscle weakness, problems that can affect any paralyzed person (such as pneumonia or bed sores) and the need for sophisticated medical equipment, individuals with Guillain-Barré syndrome are usually admitted and treated in a hospital’s intensive care unit.


There are two types of treatment that can reduce the severity of symptoms and improve the rate of recovery:

  • Immunoglobulin therapy: Antibodies from donors are given intravenously (IV). This treatment seems to reduce the autoimmune response that occurs.
  • Plasma exchange, also known as plasmapheresis: Blood is taken from the body. The blood plasma is then separated from the blood cells. The blood cells are returned, and the body regenerates plasma. This process removes some of the antibodies attacking healthy cells.

Both methods are similarly effective. However, using them together does not improve outcomes. Researchers do not yet know exactly why either method works.






  • “Guillain-Barré Syndrome Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Guillain-Barre-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet.

  • “Guillain-Barré Syndrome.” NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders), rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/guillain-barre-syndrome/. 

  • Newman, Tim. “Guillain-Barré Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 19 Dec. 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/167892.php.

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