Immunoglobulin Therapy or IVIG
consists of giving patients proteins produced by B-cells called IgG immunoglobulins that produce antibodies. Antibodies target pathogens for destruction and inhibit them from infecting cells. Through their interactions with immune cells antibodies also modulate the immune system – boosting under active and tamping down over active parts of it.
IVIG therapy is designed to alter the immune response in order to prevent infections or fight off pathogens in immune deficient individuals or to reduce inflammation in people with auto-immune diseases.
The immunoglobulins are pooled from the blood products of over a 1000 blood donors that have been treated to kill any infections present. IVIG therapy is FDA approved to treated several diseases but is used off-label in a many others including many auto-immune ones.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)/Fibromyalgia (FM) Studies
IVIG therapy cured several parvovirus-B19 associated cases of chronic fatigue syndrome. On the other hand a large place-controlled, double-blinded, randomized Australian trial using a variety of doses found no specific therapeutic benefits. FM patients with evidence of nerve demyelination caused by immune dysfunction responded positively (reduced pain, tenderness, increased strength) to a short-term IVIG trial.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Doctors Report
Given its expense Dr. Teitelbaum turns to IVIG only after other means of fighting chronic infections have been exhausted. He has, however, found that IVIG can ‘dramatically help’ some patients. Dr Tae Park of Korea uses IVIG extensively and reports high levels of success. Dr. Peterson finds it very helpful in some of his patients. Dr. Chia has found it helpful for fibromyalgia patients.
Dr. Teitelbaum recommends intramuscular injections of 2 cc a week or 4 cc every other week (or weekly) but notes that even 1 gram a week for six months can be helpful. He recommends using IVIG for six weeks or longer. De Meirleir uses low doses of IgG1 or IgG3.
IVIG therapy can be extremely expensive costing several thousand dollars a month. Both Dr. Teitelbaum and Dr. De Meirleir have found that using low doses to cut costs can be effective. Finding no extra benefits from IV’s Dr .Teitelbaum advises using the less expensive intramuscular injections.
can include fevers, chest pain, muscle aches, headaches, shortness of breath, etc. Die-off reactions can occur with the first few injections. Dr. Teitelbaum recommends that one to three weeks of Nexavir be given prior to IVIG therapy.
The Phoenix Rising website is compiled by a layman with ME/CFS. It is not a substitute for a physician and is for informational uses only. It does not present complete information on this drug. Please discuss any treatments in these pages with your doctor.
Caro XJ, Winter EF, Dumas AJ.A subset of fibromyalgia patients have findings suggestive of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and appear to respond to IVIG. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 Feb;47(2):208-11.
Kerr JR, Cunniffe VS, Kelleher P, Bernstein RM, Bruce IN. Successful intravenous immunoglobulin therapy in 3 cases of parvovirus B19-associated chronic fatigue syndrome. Clin Infect Dis. 2003 May 1;36(9):e100-6
Vollmer-Conna U, Hickie I, Hadzi-Pavlovic D, Tymms K, Wakefield D, Dwyer J, Lloyd A. Am J Med. Intravenous immunoglobulin is ineffective in the treatment of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. 1997 Jul;103(1):38-43
Teitelbaum, J., From Fatigued to Fantastic, Avery Press. 2007.