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Types of PI Treatment

Treatment is not one-size-fits-all

There are many types of primary immunodeficiency (PI) diseases, and there are many approaches to treatment. What's right for one type of PI may not be right for another. Sometimes, even people with the same type of PI may require different treatment plans to meet their specific needs.

A PI treatment plan can and should be individualized per person, and may include:

PI treatment types overview


Here's an overview of several PI treatment types for people with compromised immune systems. Take a look and start thinking about what questions you might have for your doctor about treatment for your specific type of PI.

Immunoglobulin (Ig) treatment

Ig treatment is used to temporarily replace some of the antibodies (immunoglobulins) that are missing or not working properly in people with PI. There are five types of Ig: IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD, IgE. IgG is the only type that's used in treatment.

The goal of Ig treatment is to use IgG obtained from plasma, a special part of the blood containing antibodies, donated by healthy individuals. This is done to keep enough antibodies in the blood of patients with PI to help the body fight off bacteria and viruses.

  • Intravenously, or into a vein: Intravenous Ig (IVIg) treatments are infused directly into the bloodstream and
    administered once every 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Subcutaneously, which means under the skin: Subcutaneous Ig (SCIg or "subQ") treatments are delivered under the skin and administered daily or up to every 3 or 4 weeks, depending on the product.

Doctors work together with their patients to determine which route of administration is best, taking into consideration health needs and lifestyle.

Types Frequency Average
Infusion Time*
Infusion
Time Range*
Mode Location More info
Antibiotics Varies based on your needs and the recommendation from your HCP N/A N/A Oral Home
SubQ Ig Replacement Daily to once every two weeks ~1 to 2 hours ~5 minutes to 2 hours subQ Home, HCP Office, Hospital Learn more about one option
Every 3 or 4 weeks ~2 hours ~1 to 2 hours subQ Home, HCP Office, Hospital Learn more about one option
IVIg Replacement Every 3 or 4 weeks ~2 to 4 hours ~2 to 6 hours IV Home, HCP Office, Hospital Learn more about one option

*Infusion times may vary based on frequency, dose, volume, number of needlesticks, & tolerability

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It’s important to talk with your doctor to understand your treatment options and to make sure you’re on a plan that’s right for you.
Antibiotics

For some people with PI who have a history of bacterial infections, doctors may prescribe prophylactic antibiotics. Unlike antibiotics used to treat an infection, prophylactic antibiotics are given to help prevent an infection. They are usually given in low doses.

Types Description Frequency Mode Location
Antibiotics One or multiple courses of low-dose antibiotics used prophylactically to lower risk of getting infections Varies based on your needs and the recommendation from your HCP Oral Home
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Talk to Your Doctor

It’s important to talk with your doctor to understand your treatment options and to make sure you’re on a plan that’s right for you.
Stem Cell Therapy

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) form the different types of blood and immune cells. For some types of PI, hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cell transplantation (HSCT) may be an appropriate treatment option. HSCT is when HSCs from a healthy person are transfused into a person with Pl. It is not surgery. The process is more like a blood transfusion.

The traditional way to perform HSCT is by bone marrow transplantation, where the HSCs from another person's bone marrow are transfused into a person with Pl. But now, HSCs can also be taken from cord blood (the blood removed from the placenta after childbirth). Cord blood can be an HSC source for immune and blood systems.

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Talk to Your Doctor

It’s important to talk with your doctor to understand your treatment options and to make sure you’re on a plan that’s right for you.
Gene Therapy

Most forms of PI are caused by errors (mutations) in specific genes. Gene therapy uses a person's own hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that have been modified by addition of a normal copy of the gene in order to fix the genetic mutation. This may be an option for individuals with some types of PI who cannot be matched with appropriate stem cell donors. Currently, gene therapy remains experimental and is not yet used routinely.

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Talk to Your Doctor

It’s important to talk with your doctor to understand your treatment options and to make sure you’re on a plan that’s right for you.
Natural Treatments

Natural treatments do exist; however, there is little evidence of their effectiveness. If a natural disease management routine is something you are interested in, it is best to discuss it with your doctor.

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Talk to Your Doctor

It’s important to talk with your doctor to understand your treatment options and to make sure you’re on a plan that’s right for you.
MyIgSource community member Ann P. swimming.

Ann P., 56

Indianapolis, IN

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Explore how PI might affect different aspects of life, and how you can live in this new normal.

Living with PI

Primary immunodeficiency patient advocate Dayna.

Dayna

Advocate

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