Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a condition in which damage to nerves results in impaired nerve function. This may cause diminished or unusual sensations, abnormal muscle function, or both.


CIDP is caused when the covering of nerves (myelin sheath) is damaged. In the most common form of the disorder, the damage is believed to occur because the immune system (cells that protect the body against foreign invaders, like bacteria and viruses) accidentally attacks the myelin.

CIDP may accompany conditions such as blood disorders (Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, multiple myeloma, or osteosclerotic myeloma), diabetes, HIV, or hepatitis B or C infection.


  • Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet.

  • Weakness.

  • Problems walking.

  • Weak or absent reflexes.


A physical exam will be done by your health care provider. Also, tests can be done to show how well your nerves are working. These tests include:

  • Nerve conduction studies.

  • Electromyography.

A nerve biopsy may be done to remove a small piece of a nerve so it can be examined.


Treatment may include:

  • Steroids or other immunosuppressant drugs. These drugs can decrease inflammation of the nerves.

  • Immunoglobulin therapy. This decreases your immune system's activity against the nerves.

  • Blood plasma exchange. This can be done to remove harmful immune system elements from your blood.

  • Physical therapy. This may help improve symptoms.

  • Braces or orthotics. These may help support weakened limbs.


  • Take all your medicines as directed by your health care provider.

  • Notify your health care provider if have significant side effects of the drugs. Never stop the medicines without a discussion with your health care provider.

  • Follow through on physical therapy recommendations.


  • You notice new symptoms.

  • You notice your symptoms worsening.