Authors: Geerts M, de Greef BT, Sopacua M, Faber CG

PMID: 33766992 PMCID: PMC8205474 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000011919


Objective: This is the first double-blind randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of IV immunoglobulin (IVIG) vs placebo in patients with idiopathic small fiber neuropathy (I-SFN).

Methods: Between July 2016 and November 2018, 60 Dutch patients with skin biopsy-proven I-SFN randomly received a starting dose of IVIG (2 g/kg body weight) or matching placebo (0.9% saline). Subsequently, 3 additional infusions of IVIG (1 g/kg) or placebo were administered at 3-week intervals. The primary outcome was a 1-point change in Pain Intensity Numerical Rating Scale score at 12 weeks compared to baseline.

Results: Thirty patients received IVIG, and 30 received placebo. In both groups, 29 patients completed the trial. In 40% of patients receiving IVIG, the mean average pain was decreased by at least 1 point compared to 30% of the patients receiving placebo (p = 0.588, odds ratio 1.56, 95% confidence interval 0.53-4.53). No significant differences were found on any of the other prespecified outcomes, including general well-being, autonomic symptoms, and overall functioning and disability.

Conclusions: This randomized controlled trial showed that IVIG treatment had no significant effect on pain in patients with painful I-SFN.

Keywords: immunoglobulin therapy, Idiopathic Small Fiber Neuropathy