Eur Neurol. 2003;50(3):172-5
Wittstock M, Benecke R, Zettl UK.
Department of Neurology, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany.
Therapy with intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) is thought to be a safe treatment for a number of immune-mediated neurological diseases.
Published data about prevalence of adverse effects range from 11 to 81%.
The purpose of our study was to present a representative view on adverse effects by analysis of a large cohort of patients treated by IVIG.
In a prospective study, we analysed 117 patients (age 17-79 years) who were treated with IVIG for various neurological diseases including chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, diabetic amyotrophy, inclusion body myositis, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Miller-Fisher syndrome, multifocal motor neuropathy, myasthenia gravis and polymyositis.
IVIG therapy was applied at a dose of 0.4 g/kg body weight/day in a total of 408 therapy courses.
42.7% showed adverse events.
The majority of patients presented with minor adverse effects, mostly asymptomatic laboratory changes.
Rash or mild headache occurred in 8 patients, especially when IVIG was given with infusion flow higher than 10 g/h.
Two patients showed a severe complication with deep vein thrombosis.
In summary, beside its effectiveness in immune mediated neurological diseases, therapy with IVIG seems to be a safe therapy.
Most patients show no or minor adverse effects.
Patients with pre-existent disorders like heart or renal insufficiency or immobilised patients, however, may be at higher risk for complications.