Some doctors will recommend treatment with “IVIg” or intravenous gamma globulin, for several different possible reasons. IVIg is a collection of antibodies pooled from donors and then subjected to a detergent to make sure the solution is sterile and safe to administer. The treatment is usually infused in a vein (that’s the “IV” part) or it can be infused under the skin. The antibodies are also known as immunoglobulins, so that’s the “Ig” part.
The main indication or reason for giving IVIg is hypogammaglobulinemia. Hypogammaglobulinemia or hypogamma, is a condition of low antibody production. Some patients have hypogamma as a result of blood disorders like myeloma or CLL, while others may have hypogammaglobulinemia for no specific reason. Doctors test for hypogammaglobulinemia using a test called IgG. If the IgG level is low and the patient is prone to chronic or recurrent infections, especially dangerous infections like pneumonia, doctors may recommend treatment with IVIg. These treatments may help prevent infections in people otherwise prone to them.
There are many other indications or reasons doctors may want to use IVIg. The autoimmune diseases such as Kawasaki syndrome, CIDP or myasthenia gravis may be treated with IVIg. The hematological disorders of ITP and hemolytic anemia are also treated sometimes with IVIg. There are also a number of “off label” uses for IVIg that doctors may recommend for specific patients in particular situations.
If you need IVIg, you want to know you can trust your infusion center. Ideally infusion centers use nurses trained and experienced in in-office infusions, use the best IVIg products, and have a doctor on site in case there are infusion reactions. Rarely, patients can have allergic type reactions to their IVIg infusion and sometimes may experience headache or neck stiffness after an infusion. These side effects usually pass within a day or so after an infusion.
Regatta Health doctors and nurses are experienced in giving IVIg infusions for many different indications. We use tested and regulated products like Gammagard®, Hizentra®, Octagam®, Gamunex®, and Privigen®, among others. We value our relationship with Amerisource Bergen, our medication distributor for 8 years, and one of the largest distributors in the US. Check with your treating physician to see if a referral to our infusion center makes sense for you.