What is IVIG?
Immunoglobulins are proteins made by white blood cells that can alter the immune system. IVIG has proven useful in the treatment of a number of autoimmune diseases, including Multiple Sclerosis.
Why use IVIG in MS?
IVIG is used to decrease the frequency of MS attacks.
MS patients who have not responded to, or cannot tolerate interferons or Copaxone® are sometimes considered for treatment with IVIG.
IVIG is given through an IV, either at the patient’s home or at an outpatient infusion center. Patients do not need to be admitted into the hospital for IVIG. Infusions typically take six to eight hours with the first treatment given for three to five days in a row.
IVIG is generally considered safe to use in pregnancy.
IVIG is given with caution in patients with known kidney problems. Such patients may need occasional blood tests to monitory their kidney function while on IVIG treatment.
What are the common side effects associated with IVIG?
Common side effects are headache, fatigue, muscle stiffness and rash.
Less common side effects include severe headaches and blood clots.
A blood test to check for an immunoglobulin deficiency must be done before the first infusion. After this first blood test, no further tests are typically required while on IVIG treatment.