Patients with various autoimmune conditions can benefit from Intravenous Immunoglobulin therapy, which decreases inflammation by preventing the body from attacking itself. These are the answers to some common questions about this life-changing treatment.
How Does IVIG Therapy Work?
IVIG therapy involves taking the infection-fighting immunoglobulins or antibodies from the blood plasma of healthy donors, purifying it to prevent its contamination and delivering it intravenously into a patient’s body.
Every rheumatologist Catonsville considers a patient’s particular disease and body weight when prescribing an immunoglobulin type and infusion frequency. Patients may receive a one-time infusion or multiple infusions administered several times per month over the short or long term, depending on their needs.
Who Is a Candidate for IVIG Therapy?
IVIG therapy is beneficial for patients who have autoimmune conditions resulting in systemic inflammation. These include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s disease, Crohn’s disease and myositis. It also raises patients’ immunoglobulin levels when they drop following immune-modulating rituximab therapy.
Patients are not eligible for IVIG infusions if their blood contains low levels of the immunoglobulin, IgA, they cannot tolerate the fruit sugars used as stabilizers, they have had severe adverse reactions to prior immunoglobulin infusions, or they have heart failure or high blood pressure because the treatment could potentially worsen these conditions.
What Are The Side Effects of IVIG Therapy?
Most people tolerate IVIG infusions well; however, some patients experience side effects during an infusion including, headache, nausea, fever, chills, shortness of breath, fatigue and dizziness. These symptoms usually subside when the practitioner slows down the infusion flow. Post-infusion side effects are similar and usually resolve within 24 hours.
Doctors can test each of the five immunoglobulin types to find one that produces an optimum response. It is preferable to administer the same formulation during every treatment course to prevent adverse reactions.
IVIG infusion therapy offers numerous benefits that can dramatically improve the lives of people who have treatment-resistant autoimmune diseases.