During the last few years the use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has attracted increasing interest for the treatment of patients who do not have a classical humoral antibody deficiency syndrome. In certain situations this approach has revolutionized medical management, e.g. in immune thrombocytopenia. In other areas, such as in Kawasaki's syndrome, IVIG therapy have been shown to be highly beneficial in preventing long term disease se-qualae by some investigators, but the field remains controversial. Conditions under which IVIG therapy has been shown to be of potential benefit are: (1) intractable childhood epilepsy; (2) autoimmune diseases, e.g. myasthenia gravis, systemic lupus erythematosus, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, idiopathic neutropenia and aplastic anemia; (3) atopic allergy with IgG subclass deficiency including bronchial asthma; (4) in severe infections in combination therapy with antibiotics and as an antipyretic; (5) in Kawasaki's disease; (6) in multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Oral and intraventricular administration of IVIG have also been tried, the former for severe diarrhea and the latter to try to rescue the central nervous system from damage by a pathogen. Carefully controlled clinical trials are needed to establish the efficacy of gamma-globulin therapy in these and other conditions.
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