Wednesday, July 3, 2019

National IVIG shortage impacting the MGH

There is a nationwide shortage of all forms of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). IVIG is a blood product made up of antibodies used in a number of treatments. This shortage is affecting all hospitals including Massachusetts General Hospital. As a result, changes may be made to patients’ upcoming appointment(s) and treatment plan(s).

What is IVIG?

Intravenous immunoglobulin, often called IVIG, is a blood product made up of antibodies that a patient receives through the vein, muscle or under the skin. It is used to treat many medical conditions, including patients with antibody deficiencies, or those who have autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.

Who receives IVIG treatments?

If you are a Mass General patient who receives care in the following departments, this shortage could affect your care.

• Oncology
• Hematology
• Neurology
• Infectious Disease
• Transplant
• Bone Marrow Transplant
• Obstetrics
• Rheumatology
• Allergy
• Immunology

Why is there an IVIG shortage and how long is it expected to last?

We do not know the cause of the shortage. Companies are working hard to make more IVIG, but the shortage may last until 2020.

Is the IVIG shortage affecting Mass General patients?

Yes. Mass General has had to cancel some patient appointments because there is not enough IVIG available. Cancellations will continue to happen until the shortage is over. We are looking into all possible treatment options.

Will this shortage affect my treatment plan?

The shortage will affect many patients. Care teams throughout Mass General are working to make sure that you will continue to get the best possible care. We will always talk to you before we make any changes to your treatment plan.

Are there any alternatives I should consider?

Please talk with a member of your care team to determine if there are other options for your care.

Is the IVIG shortage happening at other hospitals?

Since the IVIG shortage is affecting the whole country, many hospitals are experiencing the same problem.

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