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Guillain-Barré Syndrome

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Treatment

Guillain-Barré syndrome usually resolves on its own. In most cases, symptoms will stabilize and then begin to resolve within weeks or months. The goals of treatment are to try to help decrease the severity of symptoms, speed healing, and to prevent and/or minimize complications. Many people with GBS require hospitalization for careful monitoring and supportive care. If the symptoms are severe, the person may require breathing assistance.

Two approaches are sometimes used early in the disease to lessen the severity and hasten the recovery. Both are intended to decrease the effectiveness of the antibodies that attack the myelin sheath. Plasmapheresis, a process of removing blood, filtering out the liquid plasma that contains antibodies that may be involved in the autoimmune disorder, and then returning the red and white blood cells to the circulation, has proven effective in some people. Immunoglobulin injections to block the activity of the damaging antibodies have also been shown to be beneficial to some people.

In the recovery phase, most of those with GBS will need to undergo physical therapy to help regain muscle strength.

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