What is the role of plasmapheresis (plasma exchange) in the treatment of stiff person syndrome?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: Nancy Theresa Rodgers-Neame, MD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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Plasmapheresis (plasma exchange)

  • In some patients, plasmapheresis has been demonstrated to be of clinical utility in the treatment of stiff person syndrome. [34]

  • No real prescribed dosage exists for plasmapheresis. The time of plasmapheresis, amount of supplementary albumin, and other parameters are controlled on a patient-by-patient basis by the pathologist running the blood bank involved in the procedure. A 5-treatment series administered every other day is considered a standard regimen for autoimmune diseases, but longer and shorter regimens have been used.

  • The efficacy is then evaluated and further treatment is decided on a patient-by-patient basis, usually as a collaborative effort with the insurance company physicians because it is such an expensive procedure.

  • Possible adverse effects include hypotension, bleeding, arrhythmias, and infection.

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