Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a condition in which swelling and damage to nerves result in impaired sensation and/or movement.


  • CIDP is caused when the covering of nerves (myelin sheath) becomes 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.


Symptoms may include:

  • Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet.

  • Weakness.

  • Problems walking.

  • Weak or absent reflexes.


  • Tests are done that show how well the nerves are working. These tests include:

  • Nerve conduction studies.

  • Electromyography.

  • A nerve biopsy may be done to remove a small piece of a nerve for examination.


Treatment may include:

  • Steroids or other immunosuppressant drugs. These can decrease swelling and dampen down the immune system.

  • IVIG therapy. This decreases the immune system's activity.

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

Behavior/lifestyle changes can include:

  • Physical therapy. This may help improve symptoms.

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


  • Take all your medicines as directed by your caregiver.

  • Follow through on physical therapy recommendations.


  • You notice new symptoms.

  • You notice your symptoms worsening.

  • You develop severe pain.