Immunoglobulin (IgG) replacement therapy is an innovative and successful therapy for people with immunodeficiency disorders. Immunodeficiency disorders weaken the immune system, allowing infections and other health problems to occur more easily. There are two types of immunodeficiency disorders: those who are born with it (primary), and those that acquire it over time (secondary).
Signs that a person may have an immune deficiency disorder:
- Recurrent, unusual, or difficult to treat infections
- Delayed growth and development
- Blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia
- Recurrent pneumonia, ear infections or sinusitis
- Swollen lymph glands or an enlarged spleen
What is immunoglobulin replacement therapy?
Immunoglobulin (IgG) is another name for an antibody. Antibodies are specialized, Y-shaped proteins that bind like a lock-and-key to the body’s foreign invaders, helping fight off infections. IgG antibodies are the body’s main defense against bacterial infection. People who have low IgG antibody levels or have had severe or repeated infections should consider immunoglobulin replacement therapy.
Immunoglobulin replacement therapy is a treatment given to boost the IgG antibody levels when they are low. This treatment can strengthen the immune system and help immune deficient patients fight off infections.
When someone donates blood, the red cells and plasma are separated. The plasma is pooled together and processed in highly specialized and regulated facilities to produce immunoglobulin. These IgG antibodies are then usually given as an intravenous infusion (sent directly into the vein using a needle or tube). The length of time it takes to have the infusion depends on how much immunoglobulin a person needs.
Some people have immunoglobulin replacement therapy as an injection under the skin. This is called subcutaneous immunoglobulin therapy (SCIG). The immunoglobulins are given by slowly injecting purified IgG into the fatty tissue just underneath the skin. SCIG can be administered at home or at one of our offices.
Our team of specialized clinicians can discuss whether immunoglobulin replacement therapy would be beneficial for you. Contact Northeast Allergy, Asthma & Immunology today to schedule your appointment.