For more severe forms of vasculitis, such as granulomatosis with polyangiitis, your doctor may prescribe intravenous (IV) infusions of a protein called immunoglobulin. In this form of immunotherapy, healthy antibodies are collected from blood that has been provided by donors. Antibodies are proteins in the blood produced by the immune system that detect and fight bacteria and viruses. A doctor then administers these donor antibodies into your body through a vein with IV infusion to suppress inflammation.
Intravenous immunoglobulin infusions are given daily for about five days over the course of several months on an outpatient basis. Most people receive regular maintenance therapy of IV immunoglobulin every few weeks after the initial round of treatment to keep the immune system suppressed until remission is achieved. Remission is when the signs and symptoms of the condition disappear. Vasculitis can come back—or flare up—at any time.
You may again need IV immunoglobulin if your symptoms return, so it’s important that you follow up with your rheumatologist on a regular basis, so that you can be monitored for any signs of a flare up.
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