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Last Updated: Oct 31, 2019
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Immunodeficiency: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is Immunodeficiency? How is the treatment done? Are there any side effects? How long does it take to recover? Are the result of the treatment permanent?

What is Immunodeficiency?

Hypogammaglobulinemia

Immunosuppression A child suffering from immunodeficiency tends to fall sick quite frequently because of a genetic disorder that he/she may have acquired from the parents. This is a condition that is associated with the impairment of some of the white blood cells and the immunoglobulin protein that are responsible for warding off diseases, especially infections. These children usually suffer from bouts of pneumonia, ears, lungs or sinus infections assailing them.

The treatment is preceded by proper diagnosis where the doctor gets acquainted with the medical history of the child as well as the family records. After that, based on the symptoms, a blood test is conducted to assess the condition of the immunity system. The diagnosis is followed by doses of antibiotics or medications that exist to fight off infections.

Children suffering from a serious case of immunodeficiency are treated with high doses of antibiotics that are injected within the child’s system via Intravenous Therapy. This treatment usually takes several hours and the child should be under constant observation wherein the operation needs to be conducted once every few weeks. Other treatments include Immunoglobulin Replacement Therapy and Stem Cell Transplant.

How is the treatment done?

The initial steps of diagnosis comprise of skin tests, blood tests, occasional genetic testing and a biopsy. The blood test helps determine the levels of infection fighting proteins (immunoglobin) in the blood. The common treatments for immunodeficiency include immunoglobin therapy and antibiotics. Apart from this, antiviral drugs like amantadine, interferon and acyclovir are used while treating viral infections that are caused by such disorders.

In case of primary disorders, medications like decongestants (for sinus congestion), ibuprofen for fever and pain and expectorants for thin mucus in the airways help cure symptoms brought about by infections.

Immune globulin is prescribed when the antibody count in a patient is very low or in cases when they are not functioning properly. The treatment depends on certain specific conditions. A person with AIDS is usually treated with an antiretroviral to fight the HIV infection. On occasions when a person’s bone marrow is not producing sufficient lymphocytes, a bone marrow transplant might also be suggested by the doctor. In case of a severe disorder a stem cell transplantation might also be done.

Who is eligible for the treatment?

A child or a person who is suffering from regular bouts of infections owing to a compromised immunity system is eligible to go ahead with the treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Our immune system exists to fight off foreign attacks from viruses and bacteria. But some viruses like the common flu can come back again and again because this virus changes its strain every time it attacks our body, thereby making it difficult for our immune system to identify the virus each time. Therefore the recurrence of a common flu should not be mistaken for a condition of immunodeficiency. Children tend to normally suffer from bouts of common cold till 5 years of age and for those common anti-cold medicines are sufficient. A common case of cold, fever or such diseases may not need to be followed by an immunodeficiency treatment at all.

Are there any side effects?

Immunoglobulin Replacement Therapy is performed by Intravenous administration. In simpler words the Immunoglobulin Protein is injected into the bloodstream using an IV needle. During the process the patient can have side effects such as low-grade fever, fatigue, backache, muscle ache, nausea and vomiting. These side effects can be noticed 30 minutes into the operation. In this case stopping the infusion for a few minutes or reducing the intensity of the infusion can be tried.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The prevention of secondary medical conditions is of primary importance. There must be access to prolonged intravenous along with administration of IVIG every 2-4 weeks to maintain the levels of serum antibodies.

In case of long term intravenous, availability of venous access devices that are implantable must be looked into. These devices are quite reliable as they have been in use for long periods without any complications.

Annual visits to the physician and thorough examination ascertain immediate treatment.

How long does it take to recover?

Primary Immunodeficiency Disorder and Secondary Immunodeficiency Disorder are the two types of diseases that weaken the immune system. These patients need life-long treatment in order to lead a healthy life. An Intravenous Immunoglobulin infusion may keep infections at bay for quite long, but the process needs to be repeated eventually. Even Antiretrovial Therapy is known to combat HIV but complete recovery is not possible. Patients need to undergo treatment throughout his/her life.

Are the result of the treatment permanent?

Immunoglobulin replacement therapy along with antibiotic therapy is known to ameliorate the conditions of people suffering from Common Variable Immune Deficiency. The treatment prevents the patient from being assailed by infection for a long time to come and it also disallows the development of chronic inflammatory changes in tissues.

Popular Questions & Answers

My mom (51 years) detected with skin tb. She has completed her intensive phase without any issue. But as soon as she started akt 3 (rifampicin, isoniazid and ethambutol) she started vomiting. This is her 4 month running. She vomits everyday. Can she stop the medicine?

M.D - Respiratory medicine / M.D Pulmonology
Pulmonologist, Mumbai
Hello, akt once started needs to be continued for 6 to 9 months. You could do a liver function test blood test just so as to see if akt has caused any hepatic disfunction which is a known side effect of akt and make sure she takes the tablets in 1...

What if one consume these medicines without having tb disease? Isoniazid (inh) rifampin (rif) ethambutol (emb) pyrazinamide (pza)

MD - Pulmonary Medicine, EDRAM
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Antibiotics are associated with lots of side effects like nause vomiting dyspepsia, thembocytopenia, rash and hepatic failure you will get resistance to these drugs meaning in future, that they might not work against the pathogen they are made for.
1 person found this helpful

I pricked my finger with my grandmothers used lancet. Used 20 days ago. After the prick it looked a lil rusted. I am worried if I should get a tetanus injection. I washed it with dettol immediately though.

Dermatologist, Anantnag
If your grandmother is not hiv positive or hepatitis b/c positive you don't need to worry. If you had a tetanus toxoid injection during past 5 years you don't need a dose. What you need to work upon is your weight because you are very obese.

My questions are described as below. 1. If one having chronic psychological stress "while" receiving primary series of anti rabies vaccination which is 5 arv doses on post exposure prophylaxis, will high level of cortisol hormone or this chronic psychological stress during those times prevent our immune system to mount a proper response to the vaccine? 2. I believe reduction of antibodies level overtime is a normal process. Chronic psychological stress will be elevated cortisol hormone, does this high level of cortisol or chronic psychological stress causes formerly protected level 0.5iu of rabies antibodies drop to unproductive level? (hope to understand more about antibodies during this event as I ever administered 5 doses of arv 3 years ago) 2. If one having protective rabies antibodies level 0.50iu or more, our antibodies kill the virus instantly once it's in site before it enters the nerve? How long does it take for our antibodies to kill the virus? Assume the virus already entered the nerve and spinal cord but it hasn't reached the brain will our antibodies still be able to kill it? 3. Will chronic psychological stress or high cortisol level affect or alter hepatitis c antibodies and hiv antibodies "seroconversion" process? (means production of antibodies affected therefore unable to properly seroconvert of antibodies due to severe level of stress or chronic psychological stress) 4. For hiv infection I have seen few discussions from Dr. h. Hunter handsfield (hiv expert) through medhelp forum with his patients that antibodies will clear p24 out of the blood until p24 no longer detectable and excess antibodies will start detectable through serology blood test afterward as part of seroconversion. A. For hiv if one having psychological stress or chronic psychological stress or high cortisol level will production level of antibodies that produce by our immune system stop or delay while in the middle of clearing p24 due to stress? I seen some of this p24 discussion from h. Hunter handsfield m.d (hiv expert) with his patient which I screenshot their conversation in the attachment above (kindly refer to the attachment in the above for more detail) he mentioned "in other words, the p24 cannot become negative until at least several days (typically a couple of weeks) after antibody appears" by h. Hunter handsfield m.d. B. I'm concern about will antibodies stop or delay production during that stressful event due to stress which causes improper seroconversion? (probably similar questions to no. 3 but a little more detail:) 5. If one having chronic psychological stress and high cortisol level, will one seropositive infections such as hiv or hcv (hepatitis c) "seroreversion" to seronegative? (i do understand for hiv positive patient seroreversion for hcv is common, although i'm not hiv positive and read some cases mentioned antibodies for hcv persist for life, some said persist for many years or up to decades. 6. If one having psychological stress such as anxiety which is either chronic or not chronic does it affects seroconversion process of antibodies for treponemal test on infection like syphilis (such as tpha, fta-abs) or non treponemal test on syphilis? (such as vdrl, rpr). 7. If one having severe psychological stress anxiety or chronic psychological stress does it causes syphilis treponemal test or non treponemal test antibodies seroreversion? (despite I seen some expert discussed overtime seroreversion for non treponemal test which test turning to negative overtime is normal and is the only issue for non treponemal that might be due to the nature of the test itself which does not happen to treponemal test).

PhD - Psychology
Psychologist, Patna
If you have psychological stress you need psychological counseling services through the online or offline process for the positive attitude that will be better for recovery of your problem thank you.

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