Intravenous immunoglobulins are stable monomeric pooled human IgG preparations for therapeutic use. Three intravenous immunoglobulins licensed in the United States are generally therapeutically equivalent. Intravenous immunoglobulin is the preferred agent for replacement therapy for most patients with primary or secondary antibody immunodeficiency because of the rapidity and ease of giving large quantities of IgG, even by self-administration. Disadvantages of intravenous immunoglobulins include frequent (approximately 10%) but usually not serious side effects, the need for venous access (often difficult in infants and young children), and high cost. Intravenous immunoglobulins are also beneficial in the prevention of certain viral infections, such as cytomegalovirus pneumonia and varicella; they may also have a synergistic effect with antibiotics in certain bacterial diseases. Intravenous immunoglobulin has also been used successfully in the management of idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, Kawasaki disease, and certain autoimmune diseases. Intravenous immunoglobulin may also be of use in certain high-risk and premature newborns.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine