IVIG (IntraVenous ImmunoGlobulin)
IVIG, also called gamma globulin or antibodies, is a highly purified
blood product preparation that is derived from large pools of plasma
donors. Plasma from approximately 1,000 to 10,000 persons is present
in each unit or “lot” of IVIG. While this is a blood product,
IVIG available in the United States, is purified and carefully screened
to be free of all known transmissible diseases, including HIV, hepatitis,
malaria, syphilis and many, many others. This medication is used to treat
a variety of neurological and neuromuscular autoimmune disorders that
affect the central nervous system, peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction
The Benefits of IVIG:
The underlying problem in all autoimmune diseases is often similar. One
part of your immune system has decided to attack part of your body,
instead of defending your body from bacteria and viruses. While the
cause of this damage is unknown, IVIG contains antibodies which are
believed to block this attack.
of the most common neurological autoimmune diseases treated with IVIG
in the PNA Infusion Center include: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating
Polyneuropathy (CIDP); Multiple Sclerosis (MS); Myasthenia Gravis (MG);
Multifocal Motor Neuropathy (MMN); Multifocal Acquired Sensory and Motor
Neuropathy (MADSAM); Dermatomyositis, and Polymyositis.
What You Need to Know Before Starting IVIG
IVIG Side Effects:
It is fairly common for patients to experience headache (which can be
mild to severe), stiff neck, and fever during or shortly after an infusion.
This is called aseptic meningitis syndrome. These symptoms are manageable
and can be minimized or prevented by infusing IVIG very slowly. Patients
may often feel fatigued or flu type symptoms for a day or two after
Variation in blood pressure, shortness of breath, chills, fever, rashes
and any allergic reactions must be closely monitored during the infusions.
Discuss your questions about side effects or possible allergic reactions
with your physician and your infusion nurse.
Dosing and Length of Infusion:
The length of time it takes for an IVIG infusion will vary for each person.
On average, it is between 4 to 6 hours. The specific dose ordered by
your physician, in addition to your own tolerance to the medication,
will determine your length of stay at the Infusion Center.
Usually an IVIG dose of 2 GMs/kg is divided into 2 doses which would
be infused over 2 days. This same dose may be given on alternate days
or even divided over 5 days if side effects become a problem. Treatment
is usually repeated every 4 to 6 weeks.