What is intravenous immunoglobulin, or IVIG?
It is a blood product that contains immune factors that will counteract some of the autoimmune attack that the body puts on its own parts. So it’s actually pooled blood products that get concentrated as antibodies, and they’re used to stop the autoimmune attack with a person’s body It’s made from donor blood. One product may come from anywhere from 2,000 to 16,000 pooled blood infusions.
Most of the IVIG applications have been in the neuromuscular field of neurology. Guillain Barre syndrome, the acute autoimmune attack on the nerves, and chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy, an autoimmune attack on the nerves of a more chronic basis, are two common applications. It’s been used in some cases in inflammatory muscle disease, particularly dermatomyositis, it’s been used in stiff person syndrome, which is an autoimmune attack in which patients become rigid. It has been used in the autoimmune attack on the neuromuscular junction called, in a disease called. In addition, in neurology, it’s also been used at times in multiple sclerosis, and in some cases vasculitis, an inflammatory process affecting the blood vessels that results in stroke. So there’s a host of conditions in neurology where it’s become important
This could also be a potential treatment for other autoimmune diseases. For example, peripheral neuropathies, where the nerves aren’t working in the arms and legs, more and more of those conditions have been found to be due to an autoimmune process, and immunoglobulin has become an important treatment for that.
There are major and minor risks to immunoglobulin. Minor side effects could be things like headaches, muscle aches, stiff neck, rash, slight fever. Some of these are related to effusion rate. Some of them are just reactions. They could be treated with some preceding Benadryl, aspirin — things like that. Then there are major side effects like venous thrombosis, or blood clots in the veins, acute renal failure. There have been instances of heart attacks and stroke, and of very dangerous rashes from deposition of immune complexes. Those are much less common, but possible, especially in predisposed people. For example, people who have underlying renal insufficiency may be more predisposed to having kidney problems as a side effect, because of the load, the concentration of the immunoglobulin, so you’ve got to pick your people carefully. Older people may not be able to handle the volume load and develop congestive heart failure if their heart can’t handle that influx of volume.
Source: Ivanhoe Newswire