Nursing Notes
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What’s New in IVIG as an Alzheimer’s Disease Therapy?

By Elissa Ritt, MAS

There are currently more than 1,200 studies being conducted for Alzheimer’s disease! The treatments being studied include pills, infusions, current medications (like Namenda) and other treatments such as behavioral treatments (i.e., working with a psychotherapist).

You may have heard that intravenous immune globulin, or IVIG, was seen as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease after surprisingly positive results in earlier studies. Unfortunately, larger clinical trials showed that most patients did not benefit from IVIG treatment. However, in those same studies, some groups of patients (for example, those who have a gene that means they are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease) improved with IVIG treatment. It is yet to be determined, though, if IVIG will be studied further in these patients.

Here are some other studies in which IVIG is being looked at as a therapy for Alzheimer’s disease:

• One manufacturer of IVIG is studying the drug in combination with albumin (a protein found in human plasma) to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

• A new brand of IVIG is being studied in amnesiatic mild cognitive impairment, which is considered a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

Even though IVIG was not shown to work in a large study of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, there is still some interest in looking at it as a potential treatment. What do you think? Should scientists continue to study IVIG as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease because of positive results in earlier, small studies?

Comments (1) -

  • Dana J. Martin, RN, BSN

    4/21/2015 6:59:34 AM |

    I think anything showing possible treatment towards Alzheimer's should warrant further study.  Having lost 2 grandmothers and my mother to the disease, it warrants further discussion as a single factor in tx or in conjunction with other things such as the albumin.