Treatment for Fisher syndrome, Bickerstaff's brainstem encephalitis and related disorders

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Background: Fisher syndrome is one of the regional variants of Guillain-Barré syndrome, characterised by impairment of eye movements (ophthalmoplegia), incoordination (ataxia) and loss of tendon reflexes (areflexia). It can occur in more limited forms, and may overlap with Guillain-Barré syndrome. A further variant is associated with upper motor neuron signs and disturbance of consciousness (Bickerstaff 's brainstem encephalitis). All of these variants are associated with anti-GQ1b IgG antibodies. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) and plasma exchange are often used as treatments in this patient group. This review was undertaken to systematically assess any available randomised controlled data on acute immunomodulatory therapies in Fisher Syndrome or its variants. Objectives: To provide the best available evidence from randomised controlled trials on the role of acute immunomodulatory therapy in the treatment of Fisher Syndrome and related disorders. Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Trials register (March 2004), MEDLINE (from January 1966 to November 2004), EMBASE (from January 1980 to November 2004), CINAHL (from January 1982 to November 2004) and LILACS (from January 1982 to November 2004) for randomised controlled trials, quasi-randomised trials, historically controlled studies and trials with concurrent controls. We adapted this strategy to search MEDLINE from 1966 and EMBASE from 1980 for comparative cohort studies, case-control studies and case series. Selection criteria: All randomised and quasi-randomised controlled clinical trials (in which allocation was not random but was intended to be unbiased, e.g. alternate allocation, and non-randomised controlled studies were to have been selected. Since no such clinical trials were discovered, all retrospective case series containing five or more patients were assessed and summarised in the discussion section. Data collection and analysis: All studies of Fisher Syndrome and its clinical variants were scrutinised for data on patients treated with any form of acute immunotherapy. Information on the outcome was then collated and summarised. Main results: We found no randomised or non-randomised prospective controlled trials of immunotherapy in Fisher Syndrome or related disorders. We summarised the results of retrospective series containing five or more patients in the discussion section. Authors' conclusions: There are no randomised controlled trials of immunomodulatory therapy in Fisher Syndrome or related disorders on which to base practice. Copyright © 2008 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.




Overell, J. R., Hsieh, S. T., Odaka, M., Yuki, N., & Willison, H. J. (2007). Treatment for Fisher syndrome, Bickerstaff’s brainstem encephalitis and related disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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