Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG)

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a medication made from grouped donated blood plasma that is used to reduce the risk of infection in people with weakened or impaired immune systems. IVIG contains antibodies to fight bacteria, fungi, and viruses that can cause disease.

IVIG can be used as a replacement therapy for people who have too few antibodies to effectively fight infections. For example, IVIG may be used in babies born prematurely who are at risk of complications from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. It can also be used as treatment for immune system problems, such as for those that exist at birth (congenital immunodeficiency).

Because immunoglobulin is made from donated blood, it is sometimes in short supply. It is also very expensive.

Last Updated: April 22, 2009

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease

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