Efficacy and safety of intravenous immunoglobulin for immune-mediated skin disease: current view

Author(s): Ruetter A, Luger TA

Abstract

Intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIgs) exert a variety of immunomodulating activities and are, therefore, increasingly being used for the treatment of immune-mediated as well as autoimmune diseases. There is also accumulating evidence that high-dose IVIg (hdIVIg) is highly efficacious in the treatment of skin diseases, despite the lack of evidence from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. A major advantage of hdIVIg in comparison with other commonly used immunomodulating therapeutic strategies is the excellent safety profile. Accordingly, IVIgs have been used successfully for the treatment of bullous autoimmune diseases such as pemphigus and bullous pemphigoid, dermatomyositis, scleroderma, cutaneous lupus erythematosus, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and erythema exudativum multiforme. In most cases, hdIVIg is effective only in combination with other immunomodulating strategies and allows for the reduction of adjuvants. Adverse effects of hdIVIg are generally mild and self-limiting. These include headache, myalgia, flush, fever, nausea or vomiting, chills, lower backache, changes in blood pressure, and tachycardia. To avoid infusion-related rigors, headaches, and other adverse events, pre-treatment with analgesics, NSAIDs, antihistamines, or low-dose intravenous corticosteroids may be beneficial. Controlled, double-blind, long-term clinical trials and a better understanding of the complex immunomodulating mechanism of IVIg are required to ultimately optimize dose, frequency, duration, and mode of IVIg administration.

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