What Neuropathy Patients Should Know About IVIG

What Neuropathy Patients Should Know About IVIG
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Familial amyloid polyneuropathy patients and their caregivers will want to research treatment options at the onset of the disease. As patients become more accustomed to their symptoms, they can research the various treatments designed to address the tingling, burning, and numbness associated with peripheral neuropathy.

Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG) is a mix of antibodies used to treat several health conditions, including those related to measles, primary immunodeficiencies, and peripheral neuropathy, among others. When considering IVIG as a treatment option, following are details that neuropathy patients and caregivers should know about this treatment. Always consult your medical team before making any treatment decisions.

Background

My mother-in-law has been undergoing intermittent IVIG treatments for her peripheral neuropathy symptoms since I’ve known her. She originally began this form of treatment in 2014. As the cost of undergoing IVIG treatments can be high, she was advised by family members not to continue. As of this year, she has resumed IVIG treatment to reduce the amount of pain she is experiencing due to her symptoms.

How do neuropathy patients benefit from IVIG?

IVIG may be an effective treatment for disorders of the nerves and muscles such as familial amyloid polyneuropathy, chronic relapsing polyneuropathy, and Guillain-Barré syndrome. IVIG is made from immunoglobulin pooled from the plasma of thousands of donors.

The therapy works by introducing antibodies into a patient’s system that otherwise would not have been created by their own body. The treatment also may help to raise red blood cell counts and to prevent their destruction by white blood cells.

What are the side effects of IVIG treatment?

Many adverse side effects may be associated with IVIG treatment. Some mild side effects may include headache, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and fever. These symptoms may be addressed with rest, hydration, and a healthy diet consisting of smaller meals.

More severe side effects may include intense shortness of breath, chest pain, and sensitivity to light. If these side effects are present, patients and caregivers should seek medical assistance.

My mother-in-law would regularly feel sick and in pain after undergoing an IVIG treatment. She would sometimes feel fatigued and complain about her memory being cloudy. After having recently undergone a second day of treatment, she continued to feel fever and complained of experiencing high levels of pain.

Is IVIG right for me?

IVIG treatment may benefit patients of familial amyloid polyneuropathy by strengthening the body’s immune system, potentially reducing the itching, numbness, and burning symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy. Still, the cost of treatments can range in the thousands of dollars for three- to four-week sessions. Patients should check with their insurance providers to determine whether these treatments are covered.

IVIG treatments may be right for those who can tolerate their potential side effects. Before making a decision, be sure to discuss all of this, including any doubts or questions you might have with your medical team.

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Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.

Ezekiel is caregiver to his mother-in-law, who has familial amyloid polyneuropathy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in strategic and organizational communications from Temple University and currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When not writing, he’s skateboarding or hanging out with his wife, Maryann.
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Ezekiel is caregiver to his mother-in-law, who has familial amyloid polyneuropathy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in strategic and organizational communications from Temple University and currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When not writing, he’s skateboarding or hanging out with his wife, Maryann.
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