There are several treatment options that can help people diagnosed with primary immunodeficiencies (PI) to live a normal life and to live longer. Different types of PI are treated differently. Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is a possible cure for a number of primary immunodeficient diseases. However, not everyone is a candidate for bone marrow transplant, because, for a BMT to be successful, there must be a close biological match between the donor and the recipient. Serious health risks are also associated with the procedure. Recipients who have weakened immune systems are at risk of developing graft-versus-host disease after surgery. Some people may experience transplant rejection- in which the body’s immune system attacks the donated organ.
For the most common type of PI, antibody deficiencies, lifelong immunoglobulin replacement therapy is the standard treatment. The two common methods of administration for immunoglobulin are subcutaneous(Sub-Q Ig) and intravenous(IVIG). Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) can be given in large, infrequent doses, it is fast-acting, and it avoids the side-effects associated with large subcutaneous injections.
The useful effects of IVIG for the preventative treatment of patients with primary immunodeficiency syndromes are well established. Appropriately treating PI with IVIG preserves organ function, improves quality of life, prevents infection-related death, and increases lifespan. The long-term goal of IVIG therapy is to render the patient infection free, to the greatest extent possible.
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