Treatment Options

Immunoglobulin Replacement Therapy

The most common treatment option for PI patients is Immunoglobulin (Ig) replacement therapy. Ig are made from plasma proteins and helps fight the infections that your body cannot. In Canada, these Ig products are produced outside of Canada, and then distributed through Canadian Blood Services at no cost to the patient. Ig can be administered in two ways:

  • Intravenous (IVIg) – through an IV needle and pump, usually given in hospital or clinic setting once a month, or;
  • Subcutaneous (SubQ) – through the fat tissues (stomach, thighs or upper arms), usually administered at home weekly.

Deciding which method of treatment is right for you will be up to you and your healthcare provider. The important thing to remember is that each method is safe, and if properly administered, will help to keep you healthy.

Stemcell (Bone Marrow) Transplant

Traditionally, stem cells were taking from bone marrow, but today they are resourced from cord blood. To identify a matched donor, one needs to have the same Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLAs). A sibling has the best chance of being a matched donor with a 1 in 4 possibility (25%).

Transplant has traditionally been used for patients with more severe primary Immunodeficiencies, and has tends to have a higher success rate, the earlier it is done. This lends to the importance for Newborn Screening.

Gene Therapy

Although gene therapy is not currently a treatment option in Canada, it is growing a fast growing field with patients travelling to the US and Europe to undergo the therapy. Gene therapy represents a life- saving option for those patients with severe primary immunodeficiency who do not have a matched sibling donor.

Antibiotics & Antifungals

Most PI patients will be treated with antibiotics. There is danger in overuse of antibiotics, especially with certain infections that are viral in nature. When you suspect an infection that requires antibiotics, please visit a healthcare professional.

Occasionally, your physician may recommend using antibiotics on a long-term basis or as a prophylaxis. This may be for patients with a history of sinus and pulmonary issues in order to cover against bacterial infections. There is some argument against using antibiotics prophylacticly, as it may lead to antibiotic resistance. All decisions should be discussed with your healthcare provider.