What is IVIG?

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*Photo Credit: NBN Group*
IVIG is Intravenous Immune Globulin is a product made from the serum of between 1,000 and 20,000 donors per dose. IVIG has become one of the primary treatments of choice for patients with antibody deficiencies. This is administered intravenously in a doctor’s office, hospital, or infused at home. 
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “IVIG is used at a ‘replacement dose’ of 200–400 mg/kg body weight, given approximately 3-weekly. In contrast, ‘high dose’ IVIG (hdIVIG), given most frequently at 2 g/kg/month, is used as an ‘immunomodulatory’ agent in an increasing number of immune and inflammatory disorders.”

Our body needs immune globulin to function properly. These antibodies are proteins that your body naturally makes to help you fight off infections. Some immune systems are not able to produce these proteins naturally.

 

WHY WOULD SOMEONE NEED IVIG?

IVIG is typically used in two situations:

  1. When our bodies do not make enough antibodies the IVIG will supplement the deficiency.
  2. If you have developed an autoimmune disorder, such as Multiple Sclerosis or Guillain-Barré syndrome.

 

WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS TO IVIG?

Typically there are no side effects from receiving IVIG, but, of course, side effects are possible. Treatment is administered based upon the patient’s weight and would typically be one dose per month. This dose could be administered at one time, two times (once every other week), four times in one week, or on another schedule. It all depends on what the patient can handle.

Studies show that about half of people may experience mild to moderate side effects. These side effects will typically happen during the first dose, so adjustments are able to be made for future doses and hopefully does not continue through treatment.

These are some side effects that can happen right away: chills, fever, flushing, flu-like muscle pains or joint pains, feeling tired, having nausea, vomiting, headache, and allergic-type reactions.

It’s important to stay hydrated and helpful to take a Tylenol or Motrin prior to treatment.

 

HOW LONG DOES IVIG TREATMENT LAST?

Most patients will be on IVIG treatment for 6 months up to two years. It’s important to monitor the patient progress while on treatment. There are many studies that show great success with patients using IVIG.

Some even call it liquid gold for those who are suffering chronically.

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Here’s a bit of an update on my health:

Yesterday, I had my autonomic function retested and
learned that IVIG is likely my next step in my better health.
During the tilt test my blood pressure changed dramatically and I just about passed out. It was brief episode, but intense (cold sweats, dizziness, blacked out, almost vomited, etc).
Last year, when I had this test, I did not have this reaction, but the biopsy revealed that I have Small Fiber Neuropathy and the autonomic testing showed I have Mild Adrenergic Failure with Transient Orthostatic Hypotension (low-grade POTS).
Based on what happened yesterday, according to my primary care doctor, it is likely that I have developed POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, a condition that affects blood flow) and I will need to have this addressed. She sounded positive about treatment with IVIG.
In the coming weeks, I will get new blood-work completed and will have another MRI scan with NeuroQuant done on my brain to see how I have progressed since my last scan in 2017. That scan showed there is moderate involvement of the cerebral white matter by T2 hyperintense lesions, consistent with demyelinating brain disease.
Since treatment in Germany, we are hopeful to see that these lesions have gotten smaller and the damage has began to reverse.
I am currently not taking ANY supplements or prescriptions and I am feeling pretty O.K.!

Yes, I said it, ZERO!

This time last year I was IV antibiotics along with 30+ daily supplements!
I understand that I may be heading back into getting further treatment, but this is okay. I will be okay.
I have a fantastic support system and a lot of love to get me through it. 
I am SO much better now that I was before & I AM STRONGER THAN I KNOW.
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-Tommy

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