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Updated December 2018
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is a mixture of blood proteins called antibodies that are made by the immune system to fight infections. Immunoglobulins are extracted from healthy donated blood and are used to treat a number of medical conditions. IVIg is given to patients as an intravenous infusion.
If you are worried about any possible side effects you should contact your rheumatologist as soon as possible.
In some medical conditions the body’s immune system becomes overactive and starts attacking a person’s own body tissues, such as nerves, muscle or skin. IVIg is given to patients with these inflammatory conditions to reduce and alter the immune systems response.
IVIg has been shown to be beneficial in many medical conditions including certain inflammatory disorders and to treat patients who do not have sufficient antibodies.
Some examples of conditions where IVIg may be used:
The above list of conditions are just some examples of the many medical conditions in which IVIg may be used. Ask your doctor if you have questions about the use of IVIg in your particular condition.
IVIg is given as an intravenous (into a vein) infusion. At the beginning of the treatment, the infusion (the drip) will be set at a slow rate. Depending upon how comfortable you are, your doctor may then gradually increase the infusion rate.
Your doctor will decide how much IVIg will be given to you. The dosage will vary depending on your condition and how much you weigh. The dosage may vary for different individuals. You may receive a different dose at each visit depending upon your condition.
Ask your doctor if you have questions about your dose of IVIg.
Your doctor will review your condition after your IVIg treatment and will decide if you need further doses.
You might experience side effects with your treatment. Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are receiving treatment with IVIg.
Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:
If any of the following happen, tell your doctor immediately or go to the Accident & Emergency at your nearest hospital:
Tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately if any of side effects you experience get worse, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet.
There are some differences in the rate of certain side effects between brands of IVIg. This is because different brands of IVIg may have different salt or sugar content, or may have other different excipients (additives).
Because IVIg is extracted from donated blood, it undergoes vigorous testing to check for possible viruses. There are additional procedures in the manufacturing to reduce the possible risk of viruses. Despite these stringent measures during the manufacturing process, the risk of contamination by viral and other unknown agents cannot be completely eliminated.
You must tell your doctor if you are planning to get any vaccinations. IVIg may impair the effects of some live virus vaccines such as measles, mumps, rubella and varicella.