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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Guillain-Barre Syndrome


These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome & Flu Shots
Question:I was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre in March of 1973 and made a full recovery within a couple of months. In the past, information sheets regarding flu vaccinations warned against getting a flu shot in you had ever been diagnosed with Guillian-Barre. I was wondering if this was still the case--should I or should I not get a flu shot?

Answer: Still the case, but we haven't seen much. There was never consensus on why that specific shot triggered all the GB. Most would not recommend it unless you have marked health problems. There is an antibiotic, amantadine which you can take if you get exposed to the flu, I would prefer that approach with your history.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Question: Ten years ago I had a very severe case of descending Guillain-Barre syndrome. I have residual synkenesis as well as hypersensitivity to pain in upper extremities. My internist wants to put me on Somavastatin for my cholesterol level of 265. I am concerned about the potential adverse effects relative to neuromuscular integrity and other related problems as per the Guillain-Barre. Do you have any information to help me make my decision about taking this drug? I'm a 53 year old male.

Answer: This should not really be a problem with Somavastatin. It is true that it can produce inflammation of the muscles, but this would be easily checked and is present in only about 1/2 % of patients. I'd watch some blood tests a little closer in you than in patients with no preceding problem, but I don't expect a problem.

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