An IVIG, or intravenous immunoglobulin infusion, uses donated plasma to provide antibodies to a patient whose body cannot produce enough antibodies to maintain a healthy immune system, according to the Immune Deficiency Foundation. IVIG differs from other immunoglobulin treatments because patients receive a large amount of antibodies during one treatment every three to four weeks. Patients receiving IVIG experience a peak of antibodies right after the treatment and a diminished amount preceding their next treatment.
IVIG is also called Ig replacement therapy because it contains gamma globulin, or IgG, antibodies that replace missing antibodies.
During the typical IVIG, the patient receives plasma through an IV either in a clinic or sometimes at home, explains the Immune Deficiency Foundation. The treatment usually lasts between two to four hours. Frequently, the goal is infuse the patient with such a large amount of antibodies contained in the plasma that the patient maintains a healthy range until right before the next treatment.
It often takes several initial infusions to determine a personalized IVIG regimen for the patient, the Immune Deficiency Foundation reports. Patients tolerate some products better than others, as well as specific infusion rates and the need for premedication. Switching any of these variables can create side effects, so it is important for the patient to know the particulars of their IVIG regimen and use it for every infusion.
Doctors administer IVIG to treat a range of autoimmune conditions, idiopathic diseases and infections, explains KabaFusion. It also treats a variety of neurological, dermatological, rheumatological, hematological and infectious diseases.
A nurse or doctor administers the infusion intravenously once every four to six weeks, states Phoenix Neurological Associates. The duration of treatment varies from individual to individual; however, on average, IVIG treatment takes four to six hours.