Guidelines on the Use of Intravenous Immune Globulin for Hematologic Conditions Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Canada's per capita use of intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) grew by approximately 115% between 1998 and 2006, making Canada one of the world's highest per capita users of IVIG. It is believed that most of this growth is attributable to off-label usage. To help ensure IVIG use is in keeping with an evidence-based approach to the practice of medicine, the National Advisory Committee on Blood and Blood Products of Canada (NAC) and Canadian Blood Services convened a panel of national experts to develop an evidence-based practice guideline on the use of IVIG for hematologic conditions. The mandate of the expert panel was to review evidence regarding use of IVIG for 18 hematologic conditions and formulate recommendations on IVIG use for each. A panel of 13 clinical experts and 1 expert in practice guideline development met to review the evidence and reach consensus on the recommendations for the use of IVIG. The primary sources used by the panel were 3 recent evidence-based reviews. Recommendations were based on interpretation of the available evidence and where evidence was lacking, consensus of expert clinical opinion. A draft of the practice guideline was circulated to hematologists in Canada for feedback. The results of this process were reviewed by the expert panel, and modifications to the draft guideline were made where appropriate. This practice guideline will provide the NAC with a basis for making recommendations to provincial and territorial health ministries regarding IVIG use management. Specific recommendations for routine use of IVIG were made for 7 conditions including acquired red cell aplasia; acquired hypogammaglobulinemia (secondary to malignancy); fetal-neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia; hemolytic disease of the newborn; HIV-associated thrombocytopenia; idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura; and posttransfusion purpura. Intravenous immune globulin was not recommended for use, except under certain life-threatening circumstances, for 8 conditions including acquired hemophilia; acquired von Willebrand disease; autoimmune hemolytic anemia; autoimmune neutropenia; hemolytic transfusion reaction; hemolytic transfusion reaction associated with sickle cell disease; hemolytic uremic syndrome/thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura; and viral-associated hemophagocytic syndrome. Intravenous immune globulin was not recommended for 2 conditions (aplastic anemia and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation) and was contraindicated for 1 condition (heparin-induced thrombocytopenia). For most hematologic conditions reviewed by the expert panel, routine use of IVIG was not recommended. Development and dissemination of evidence-based guidelines may help to facilitate appropriate use of IVIG.


  • Anderson, David
  • Ali, Kaiser
  • Blanchette, Victor
  • Brouwers, Melissa Christine
  • Couban, Stephen
  • Radmoor, Paula
  • Huebsch, Lothar
  • Hume, Heather
  • McLeod, Anne
  • Meyer, Ralph
  • Moltzan, Catherine
  • Nahirniak, Susan
  • Nantel, Stephen
  • Pineo, Graham
  • Rock, Gail

publication date

  • April 2007