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Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a type of medicine made from donated blood plasma. IVIG is made of certain antibodies that fight bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other substances that can cause disease.
Some types of IVIG can be used to reduce the risk of infection in people who have too few antibodies to effectively fight infections because of a weakened immune system. Other types can be used to prevent infection in people who may have been exposed to a disease-causing virus, such as the hepatitis A virus. Another type of IVIG is used in babies born prematurely who are at risk of complications from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. IVIG can also be used as treatment for immune system problems that were present at birth (congenital immunodeficiency). And IVIG can be used to prevent problems that Rh incompatibility can cause in a fetus.
Because immunoglobulin is made from donated blood, it is sometimes in short supply. It is also very expensive.
Last Revised: February 15, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology
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