Background: Postpolio syndrome (PPS) is characterized by progressive disabilities that develop decades after prior paralytic poliomyelitis. Because chronic inflammation may be the process underlying the development of PPS, immunomodulatory management, such as intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) administration, may be beneficial. Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective studies that evaluated the efficacy of IVIg in managing PPS. Electronic databases, including PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, were searched for articles on PPS published before December 2014. The primary outcomes were pain severity, fatigue scores, and muscle strength. The secondary outcomes were physical performance, quality of life (QoL), and cytokine expression levels. Results: We identified 3 RCTs involving 241 patients and 5 prospective studies involving 267 patients. The meta-analysis of pain severity (weighted mean difference [WMD] = -1.02, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -2.51 to 0.47), fatigue scores (WMD = 0.28, 95% CI -0.56 to 1.12), and muscle strength revealed no significant differences between the IVIg and the placebo group. Regarding QoL, the RCTs yielded controversial outcomes, with improvement in only certain domains of the Short Form 36 (SF-36). Moreover, one prospective study reported significant improvement on SF-36, particularly in patients aged younger than 65 years, those with paresis of the lower limbs, and high pain intensity. Conclusion: The present review indicated that IVIg is unlikely to produce significant improvements in pain, fatigue, or muscle strength. Thus, routinely administering IVIg to patients with PPS is not recommended based on RCTs. However, a potential effect in younger patients with lower limbs weakness and intense pain requires confirmation from further well-structured trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 22 2015


  • Fatigue
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin
  • Meta-analysis
  • Muscle strength
  • Post-polio syndrome
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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