Date: 29 May 2014

Neurology of Rheumatologic Disorders

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Rheumatologic diseases encompass autoimmune and inflammatory disorders of the joints and soft tissues that often involve multiple organ systems, including the central and peripheral nervous systems. Common features include constitutional symptoms, arthralgia and arthritis, myalgia, and sicca symptoms. Neurological manifestations may present in patients with preexisting rheumatologic diagnoses, occur concurrently with systemic signs and symptoms, or precede systemic manifestations by months to years. Rheumatic disorders presenting as neurological syndromes may pose diagnostic challenges. Advances in immunosuppressive treatment of rheumatologic disease have expanded the treatment armamentarium. However, serious neurotoxic effects have been reported with both old and newer agents. Familiarity with neurological manifestations of rheumatologic diseases, diagnosis, and potential nervous system consequences of treatment is important for rapid diagnosis and appropriate intervention. This article briefly reviews the diverse neurological manifestations and key clinical features of rheumatic disorders and the potential neurological complications of agents commonly used for treatment.