IVIG is a very safe treatment for my condition. At low doses IVIG helps those with immune deficiency by providing the protective antibodies from other people. At high doses used in my case it dampens aspects of the immune system. Reducing the production of antibodies and increasing the catabolism of antibodies. It also does a bunch of things with regard to dampening down T cell immune function as well and affecting cytokine levels. So for autoimmune conditions it works well.
Something like 70% of IVIG today is used for treating autoimmune conditions like mine.
If I can’t get IVIG at home, I have a possible second option I can try, but its more risky, very scary, and less effective. I really don’t want to do it. It’s a chemotherapy drug originally used for cancer treatment called Rituximab, and it’s somewhat affordable.
Rituximab is an antibody that attaches to the immune systems B cells, this causes your own body to kill those cells. The B cells are the ones that produce antibodies, so doing this does mean you no longer have B cells, and thus are no longer producing antibodies of any kind, both the good that protect you from disease, and the bad autoantibodies that are part of your autoimmunity. Rituximab however does not help with the T cell involvement though.
You don’t want to do Rituximab unless you really have to. It’s really unpleasant, it’s obviously very risky because you’re killing your immune system and are going without protection from common things that might kill you. But the scariest risk of all is that it exposes you to a disease called PML. This is basically a virus that turns your brain to mush (as in the picture above), and there is nothing you can do about it but die a very horrible death.