How Much Does IVIG Cost?
IVIG (IntraVenous Immune Globulin) is used to treat a number of immune system disorders. It is useful in reducing the possibility that the body’s immune system will mount an attack on the body. People suffering from immune deficiency can benefit from IVIG as it enables their systems to produce enough antibodies. The sooner IVIG is administered to a patient, the higher the chances that results are seen. This is a type of treatment that is injected into the bloodstream, meaning that it is most often done in a clinic setting.
How much does it cost?
- The cost IVIG, according to CIDPUSA Foundation, a foundation dedicated to autoimmune and neuromuscular diseases, is $48 to $68 a gram. A single IVIG infusion costs approximately $3,000 for a child and 10,000 for an adult. The cost of IVIG is low for children because only a few grams are used.
- A BioRx.net brochure states that the cost of IVIG is generally estimated to be about $100 per gram to administer. Depending on the dose, a course of IVIG therapy can cost between $1,500 and $15,000 per month
- According to an article at KevinMD.com, the cost of giving IVIG to a patient once every 2 weeks is estimated at $2,000 to $5,000.
What is going to be included?
- IVIG is a plasma product created by means of taking antibodies from approximately 20,000 donors and mixing them. It is administered by means of a bag and a tube attached to the arm and given at a rate of 100 cc/ hour to 200 cc per hour. IVIG is usually given to a patient in a clinic or in a hospital outpatient unit, but it can also be given at home. The infusion process may take several hours to complete, with larger doses lasting longer administration times.
- Patient reaction to the component can vary. After IVIG administration, results can be seen in some individuals within 24 to 48 hours. In other patients, a response can be detected after 3 to 4 weeks. The most common side effects of IVIG include migraines, severe headaches, rashes, fatigue, flu, and changes in blood pressure. A way to reduce side effects is by slowing the rate of infusion.
What are the extra costs?
- Side effects can occur after IVIG is given to a patient, resulting to the need to take medications. Benadryl, or even steroids, may be prescribed to help a patient to avoid developing a rash after IVIG administration. Aspirin can also be given to prevent thrombophelebitis, or vein inflammation. Low-dose prednisone may additionally be prescribed to minimize headaches.
- Even though you are receiving this treatment, you will still need to have your regular doctor’s appointments. This is especially important to see how your body is reacting to the treatment and whether or not you should continue it.
Tips to know:
- Patients will be advised to hydrate themselves with 7 glasses of water a day prior to beginning the IVIG treatment. The hydration should be continued for a month after the last IVIG dosage.
- IVIG therapy is expensive due to several factors. The raw materials, human plasma, are very costly to collect and they are not always available in sufficient supply, are under extreme regulation, and are very much in demand. A worldwide shortage was reported in 1997 chiefly due to a disruption of production as well as product withdrawals that resulted from the need for fractionators to meet stricter requirements laid down by the US Food and Drug Administration.
- There are 8 IVIG brands available in the US today. While they are all therapeutically equivalent to a significant extent, they vary from each other in terms of sodium, sugar and antibody content, and the presence of latex or preservatives. All these factors will be taken into account by the patient’s doctor.
- Since IVIG is made from human plasma, there is a risk of viral transmission, so precautions and measures are in place to ensure the safety of the patient. The FDA stringently monitors blood centers and implements a comprehensive, in-depth screening method to ensure that IVIG manufacturers and individual donors are not infected and have not been exposed to specific pathogens like the hepatitis virus and HIV. Manufacturers are also required to implement viral inactivation and removal steps during the manufacturing process.
How can I save money?
- IVIG therapy is an expensive form of treatment due to the fact that it involves a complex and precise manufacturing and collection process. Most health insurers as well as Medicare and Medicaid provide coverage for IVIG. However, some of them may require certain conditions to be met, such as where the administration is given, or require a pre-authorization or pre-determination before the therapy is begun. Others will consider some cases as experimental and will require a case-by-case approval before paying for the treatment. If you do not have an insurance policy, consider browsing through hundreds for free at eHealthInsurance.com.
- In order to get the most out of this therapy, make sure that you follow all the guidelines and instructions from the doctors. For example, drink the appropriate amounts of water when you are supposed to!