Tags: Health Topics | immunoglobulin therapy

Immunoglobulin Therapy: What Is It and How Does It Help the Immune System?

By    |   Friday, 21 Aug 2015 10:35 PM

Immunoglobulin therapy helps to boost an immune system that has deficiencies. Complications of immune deficiencies include recurrent infections, autoimmune diseases, and increased risk of cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Doctors may use other methods to treat or prevent symptoms and infections that arise from immune deficiencies as well. Immunoglobulin therapy uses antibody proteins to help the body fight infections. The therapy is administered through IV treatment every few weeks or inserted underneath the skin, known as subcutaneous infusion, once or twice a week, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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People may develop immune deficiencies at birth or early in life because of genetics or they could have the disorder because of medications that treat diseases, such as cancer or autoimmune disorders, but suppress the immune system.

Because the immune system, which normally protects the body against infections from bacteria or germs, has become weakened, patients may experience repeated infections that become more serious. Symptoms may include recurrent cases of bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections or other problems. Blood disorders or digestive problems may result. Infants or young children with immune deficiencies may experience delayed growth, according to The Merck Manual.

Immunoglobulins are antibodies within the blood plasma. When there are low levels of the antibodies, people will suffer from immunodeficiency diseases, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Immunoglobulin therapy replaces the missing antibodies to help patients ward off infections.

The blood product used from immunoglobulin therapy comes from blood donors and is then processed to eliminate any infectious agents. There are millions of different antibodies in the body to fight off many different germs, the Immune Deficiency Foundation noted. Immunoglobulin therapy pools the blood plasma from many people for a wide variety of antibodies.

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The therapy is usually well tolerated by patients who are able to lead normal lives. There may be side effects to the treatment, such as headaches or allergic reactions.

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Immunoglobulin therapy helps to boost an immune system that has deficiencies.
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