What are some potential concerns and complications with IVIG treatments?


Quick Answer

Some potential concerns and complications with IVIG treatments include the possibility of an allergic reaction to sugars or amino acids in the intravenous solution, fever, aching muscles and joints, and mild headaches, according to the Immune Deficiency Foundation. In rare cases, patients develop severe and persistent headaches. Also, IVIG treatment only temporarily boosts the immune system and needs to be repeated every three to four weeks in many patients.

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Full Answer

IVIG treatment is the intravenous administration of an immunoglobulin solution to increase the ability of an immunocompromised patient to fight infection, states the Immune Deficiency Foundation. Donors provide the immunoglobulin, which is highly purified to remove any possible infectious agents, and it is mixed into a solution with a protein or sugar to keep the antibodies from sticking together. The solution directly provides antibodies to help fight infection and in certain conditions blocks the white blood cells from destroying red blood cells and platelets to boost blood counts, reports the Lupus Foundation of America.

When patients do not tolerate IVIG treatment, SCIG treatment is an option, maintains the Immune Deficiency Foundation. During SCIG treatment an immunoglobulin solution is injected under the skin, instead of intravenously. An infusion pump or a series of injections delivers the solution to the patient. A primary advantage of SCIG treatment is the ability to customize the dosage schedule to work with a patient's lifestyle.

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