I have had several readers ask me what my side effects from subcutaneous IgG infusions (SCIG) are since switching from IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin infusions). I’m happy to report the side effects are few and continue to decrease with each SCIG!
My Side Effects From Subcutaneous IgG Infusions – Ouch!
Before attempting SCIG at home by myself, I trained for four weeks with my wonderful infusion clinic nurses, Alice and Ashley. During those first four weeks I experienced the most side effects. They included redness, burning, itching, and bulging at each of my four infusion sites. (I have four infusion needles that I place into my lower stomach.) I also experienced a little headache and fatigue.
I’ll also mention that I experienced quite a bit of nausea (and an urge to pass out), but that was because I had to stick myself with four needles! For a person that has had a life-long aversion to needles or anything medically-related, that’s understandable! Thankfully, my mom attended each training and came equipped with Zofran to snip that nausea in the bud! Thanks Mom!
After each SCIG, I did have major pain in my stomach (and it wasn’t because of my dear hubby and sons this time!) It hurt to bend over, sit, or generally move in any way. So, grocery shopping at Aldi’s wasn’t the best plan after my first SCIG training!
My Current Side Effects
I guesstimate that I’ve completed about twelve infusions now! With each infusion my side effects from subcutaneous IgG infusions have decreased to the point that I can give myself my infusion in about an hour and then run off to catch one of my sons’ baseball games.
I still experience some slight burning, redness and smaller bulges at each of my four infusion sites. However, I feel little to no lingering stomach pain. I just donn a pair of loose pants or a loose t-shirt dress afterward and go about my business.
Decreasing Your SCIG Side Effects
Talk with your doctor and nurses who are knowledgeable about methods to decrease and/or prevent your SCIG infusion side effects. According to Nufactor (a specialty infusion company), A number of things can make a difference in your experience:
- Needle gauge and length – I use a 24 gauge needle that is 9mm in length
- The material of the needle set (can irritate the skin)
- The infusion site – as I’ve mentioned above I infuse on my lower stomach
- Infusion volume – I infuse 10 grams each week for a total of 40 grams each month
- Needle insertion technique – Nurse Alice taught me to “pinch an inch,” hold the head of the needle against the surface of my skin and then gently push the needle in. It honestly hurts much less when I use this technique. (I demonstrate this technique in my YouTube video featured on this blog post.)
- SCIG (subcutaneous immunoglobulin) brand
- Bandages used after needles are removed (i.e. latex allergies) – turns out my body didn’t like the latex bandages so I use non-latex now
You will most likely end up doing your SubQ infusions at home so make sure you download my checklist for creating your own SubQ Home Infusion Kit now.
Obviously, don’t hesitate to ask your nurse or doctor any questions related to SCIG infusion side effects. As always, you are welcome to email me to ask questions and/or tell me your diagnosis story!
Stay Strong my Zebra Friends!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Though DIVA as she may be, her path to success was not easy and is always evolving. Go here to read about her journey in “Becoming the CVIDiva.” If you want to send Susan Alynne a quick message, then visit her contact page here.