CADTH is committed to supporting Canada’s health care decision-makers through this challenging and uncertain time.
For evidence, tools, and resources related to COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 Evidence Portal.


Begin main content

Off-Label Use of Intravenous Immunoglobulin for Autoimmune or Inflammatory Conditions: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness

Last updated: April 6, 2018
Project Number: RC0964-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Drug
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report


  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of the off-label use of intravenous or subcutaneous immunoglobulin for the treatment of autoimmune or inflammatory conditions?

Key Message

Off-Label use of IVIG may be effective in some autoimmune disease but not in others. For instance women who were treated for antiphospholipid syndrome during pregnancy with combination of IVIG with plasma exchange and steroids had children with significantly less cardiac complication than those who received steroids alone. Also, patients with systemic lupus erythematosus had significant reduction is disease activity and improvement in symptoms from baseline following treatment with IVIG. However, there was insufficient evidence that IVIG was effective for the treatment bullous pemphigoid carditis of acute rheumatic fever, dermatomyositis, myasthenia gravis, polymyositis, Kawasaki disease, and Sydenham’s chorea. Each of the autoimmune conditions was investigated by one study, except for dermatomyositis and myasthenia gravis which were investigated by two and three studies, respectively. Overall, considering the limitations in the study designs, reporting of outcomes, limited sample sizes, and risk of bias, there is limited evidence to suggest that off-label IVIG is clinically effective for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.