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IVIG treatment for ITP


What is IVIG?

IVIG is another name for intravenous immune globulin. Immune globulins are proteins in the body. Your immune system makes them to fight off germs. If your child has immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), she can receive immune globulin from blood donors. It is a clear liquid given into a vein (IV).

How does IVIG work?

In people with ITP, cells in the spleen destroy platelets because the platelets are coated with antibodies. Platelets are a type of blood cells that help keep the body from bleeding too much. Antibodies are a type of protein.

IVIG contains antibodies that bind to the cells in the spleen, which keeps these cells from destroying the platelets.  More platelets stay in the blood, and your child’s platelet count goes up.

When is IVIG used?

Your child might receive IVIG if she has:

  • ITP and bleeding symptoms, or
  • Very low platelet counts that put her at high risk of bleeding.

How is IVIG given?

IVIG is given into a vein (IV). This takes several hours, starting at a slow rate that is gradually increased as long as your child has no side effects. If your child has side effects, IVIG might be given more slowly or stopped. 

What side effects can IVIG cause?

Side effects of IVIG can happen at different times.

Possible side effects that can start during the treatment

  • Fever and chills
  • Skin rash
  • Mild pain in the chest, back, hip, other joints, or muscles
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Allergic reaction with itching, skin redness, severe chills, breathing problems, low blood pressure, and pain in the chest, side, or back
  • Headache

Possible side effects that usually start more than a day after treatment

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rash

Before giving IVIG, the St. Jude staff will give your child other medicines, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), to decrease the side effects of the IVIG. St. Jude staff will also give you medicines to use at home to decrease side effects.

Your child might have other side effects that are not listed here. Tell your child’s doctor or nurse about any side effects your child has, whether or not they are listed above. 


If you have questions, talk to your child’s doctor or nurse. To learn more about IVIG for treating ITP, call the St. Jude Hematology Clinic at 901-595-5041. If you have an urgent need after hours or on weekends or holidays, please call the main St. Jude number at 901-595-3300 and ask to speak to the hematologist on call. If you are outside Memphis, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833).  


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).