Skip to Content

Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy


Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy

(CIDP) is a condition that affects the nerves in your body. Your nerves have a fatty covering called myelin sheath that protects the nerve fibers. CIDP may happen when your immune system attacks and damages the myelin sheath. This damage can cause weakness and decreased feeling in your arms and legs.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Arm or leg weakness that makes it hard for you to do certain tasks or walk
  • Tingling, numbness, or pain that starts in your toes and fingers
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle twitching or cramps
  • Loss of reflexes (slow reaction time, such as when you grab a falling object)

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are having trouble breathing.
  • You cannot walk or care for yourself.
  • You have pain that does not decrease, even with medicine.
  • Your symptoms get worse very quickly.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You feel like you cannot cope with your condition.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


The signs and symptoms of CIDP may come and go over time, even with treatment. For some people, the signs and symptoms may go away completely with time. Treatment will help to prevent permanent nerve damage. You may need any of the following:

  • Immune globulins may be given to make your immune system stronger.
  • Steroids may be given to decrease nerve swelling.
  • Plasma exchange is a procedure that separates the plasma in your blood from your blood cells. Plasma is the liquid part of your blood. Antibodies that may be attacking and damaging your nerves are also removed. Your blood cells and healthy plasma are then returned to your body.
  • Medicine may be given to decrease nerve pain.

Physical and occupational therapy:

Your healthcare provider may recommend physical and occupational therapy. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. An occupational therapist teaches you skills to help with your daily activities.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.