Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects an estimated half a million people in the United States.

The inflammation and irritation caused by the autoimmune disorder can be felt in your mouth, rectum, and bicyle. Your small or large intestines are affected by the disease.

Treating Crohn’s disease usually involves medications to tamp down inflammation and your body’s immune system response, as well as ease to specific symptoms. Dietary changes may also help manage your symptoms and lower the number and severity of flare-ups you have.

One other treatment, called intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), has been getting more attention in recent years as an encouraging option for physicians and people with the disease who have relatively few effective means of controlling it.

“IVIG is effective for some people with Crohn’s disease, and scientists are looking to develop IVIG products that will be safe and effective for a broader group of people.”

“IVIG has been used to treat many conditions over the years, including cancer, and serious infections. IVIG is made up of blood donations. It can take blood samples from a thousand or more people to make an IVIG product with the right concentration of antibodies to target one person’s specific conditions.”

Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune condition, which means your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue as though it were fighting off an infection, for example. This atypical autoimmune response triggers inflammation, which in turn causes irritation, lesions, and other problems throughout your digestive tract.

IVIG may help lower intestinal inflammation, thus lowering your risk of complications and your symptom severity. A 2017 study suggests that IVIG may also interfere with the activation of your immune system response.

An IVIG injection takes about 3 hours, but you can expect additional time for a healthcare professional to prepare the medications and place the IV catheter in your arm. Depending on the nature of your disease, you may have multiple infusions over a period of weeks or months to help prevent flare-ups.

IVIG can be a safe and effective treatment for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis—the other main type of IBD—according to a 2015 study of people for whom other treatments weren’t effective. In the study, people taking medications for Crohn’s disease developed an intolerance for the drugs or they developed infections due to immunosuppressant medications, leaving them vulnerable to illness.

IVIG infusions are generally safe, and the risk of side effects is low. A headache, before or during the procedure, is somewhat common. A 2018 study of IVIG adverse effects suggests that the most common side effects are temporary and mild and that more serious risks, such as arrhythmia and anemia, are rare and often treatable.

The healthcare professional administering the IVIG product should be aware of any early signs of serious side effects before they are done.

Some of the more common side effects that occur within the first day or so after IVIG therapy include:

  • There is a high degree of fever.
  • Symptoms of the flu.
  • There is a process of flushing.
  • The muscles are sore.
  • nausea

“If you want to be a good candidate for IVIG, you should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the treatment, as well as other treatment options. The usual candidate for the IVIG is someone with a disease that hasn’t responded well to other treatments.”

“If you have one or more additional autoimmune conditions that aren’t well managed by other conventional treatments, you may be a good candidate for IVIG.”

IVIG is appropriate for most people.

If you can manage your disease with standard medications and restrictions, then IVIG is not necessary.

Other possible reasons to avoid IVIG include:

  • Is it possible to be sensitive to fruit sugar?
  • Negative reaction to immunoglobulin.
  • Live vaccines for the diseases of the mumps and measles were recently received.

“IVIG is used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, and its use in treating Crohn’s disease is growing. New options for people with chronic autoimmune diseases are welcome, because the medications and diet changes that can help manage the disease aren’t effective for everyone.”

It is important to speak with a doctor about all the risks and benefits of IVIG therapy.