Immunosuppressive treatment for peripheral neuropathies in Sjogren’s syndrome – a systematic review

Andreea Camelia Humă 1 , Evelyn Maria Kecskeş 1 , Delia Tulbă 2 , Paul Bălănescu 1 , 3 , and Cristian Băicuş 1 , 3
  • 1 “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Bucharest, Romania
  • 2 Neurology Department, Colentina Clinical Hospital, Bucharest, Romania
  • 3 Internal Medicine Department, Colentina Clinical Hospital, Bucharest, Romania


Background. Sjogren’s syndrome (SS) is among the most frequent autoimmune diseases and one of its most severe extraglandular manifestations is peripheral neuropathy. There is no consensus about peripheral neuropathy treatment in SS. Our aim is to identify studies proving the efficiency of immunosuppressive treatment on peripheral neuropathies in SS.

Methods. The search was conducted on the PubMed (MEDLINE) database. Studies with patients diagnosed with SS and peripheral neuropathy were included. Treatment with one of the following was among inclusion criteria: glucocorticoids (GC), rituximab (RTX), azathioprine (AZA), mycophenolic acid (MMF), cyclophosphamide (CP), methotrexate (MTX), plasmapheresis or iv immunoglobulins (IV IG).

Results. A total of 116 results were found and abstracts were examined. 103 papers were excluded, and the remaining 13 papers were analyzed. They were 3 case series and 10 case reports, retrospective, totalizing 62 patients of which 22 (35.5%) received IV IG, 8 (13%) received RTX, 7 (11%) CP, and 5 (8%) received only GC. Drug associations containing corticosteroids were frequent. Of those 22 treated with IV IG, 18 patients improved (82%), and 4 stabilized (18%).

IV IG was useful in sensory, motor and sensorimotor neuropathies. CP had good results in mononeuritis multiplex, while autonomic neuropathies responded well to GC or RTX. AZA, RTX, MTX, MMF or plasmapheresis were not used alone. Follow-up periods were heterogenous and the evaluation of the neuropathy was not systematic.

Conclusion. There is only low level evidence (retrospective case reports and case series). In most cases, IV IG treatment in patients with peripheral neuropathies and SS resulted in clinical improvement, while other therapies, such as RTX, corticosteroids and CP proved to be useful in a handful of cases.

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