The Blood Trade

Plasma exchange recommended for patients with severe multiple sclerosis relapse, neuropathies

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) New guidelines recommend plasma exchange for patients with severe relapses of multiple sclerosis (MS) and for those with nerve disorders such as neuropathy.

The new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology establishes plasma exchange (the process of taking blood out of the body, removing harmful constituents, and transfusing the rest of the blood with replacement plasma back into the body) as treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis and other conditions. The therapy was not beneficial for patients with chronic progressive or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

This therapy has also been recommended for consideration in the treatment of severe forms of Guillain-Barré syndrome and for temporary treatment of nerve disorders such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and certain inflammatory neuropathies.

Plasma exchange may be beneficial because it removes constituents in the blood thought to contribute to these diseases and disorders, which occur when the body's immune system causes damage to the nervous system.

Side effects of plasma exchange include blood-clotting complications and infection.

Multiple sclerosis is a progressive autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). MS episodes are caused by the body's immune system attacking the protective lining around nerves known as the myelin sheath. Researchers have identified about 20 genes associated with susceptibility of developing the disease.

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Review Date: 
January 18, 2011
Last Updated:
January 19, 2011