This is not a paid review, I’m just genuinely thankful for how Hizentra changed my life. This is my journey to diagnosis and treatment.
Hizentra for treatment of Specific Antibody Deficiency
Today, I want to raise awareness about primary immune deficiency and specific antibodies deficiency. Getting diagnosed changed my life for the better.
Every two weeks, I do antibodies infusions (Hizentra) at home. It’s a lifelong treatment. You may have heard of IVIG which is done at the hospital, well this is the home version of it. I infuse the medicine in the fat layer of my skin over one hour. These infusions are called SubQ infusions.
Why do you need antibody infusions?
To put it simply, your body is supposed to create antibodies to protect you. They’re soldiers against harmful bacteria and viruses. My body doesn’t create IgA antibodies and I’m lacking many types of IgG antibodies.
What does it mean? It means that when I get sick, there aren’t many soldiers to protect me. I’m more likely to get sick and when I do get sick, my body struggles to fight.
How does specific antibody deficiency get diagnosed?
For me, it was “luck”. In 2020, I was sick for months, nobody could figure out why. I was referred to a GI doctor who ran some tests and found that I had cyclospora and IgA deficiency. It’s a rare bacteria so it rang some alarm bells. I was referred to an immunologist who ordered more tests. The first one was a simple blood test to test antibody levels (IgA, IgG, and IgM). It confirmed the IgA deficiency. My IgG levels were on the low side of normal so I had to do a “vaccine challenge”,
What’s a vaccine challenge?
It’s simple, the doctor will give you the pneumococcal vaccine and test your pneumococcal antibodies before and after the vaccine. The goal is to see if your body is able to create antibodies. My body didn’t. This is when I got the specific antibodies deficiency diagnosis.
Hizentra to the rescue
Not everyone with primary immune deficiency and specific antibodies deficiency is a good candidate for Hizentra but considering how often I was getting infections, the immunologist recommended that we try antibodies infusions.
Hizentra is made from the plasma of donors. It increases your IgG levels. IgA deficiency is not treatable.
I was taught to do infusions at home, by a nurse. I was terrified at first, not gonna lie, but after close to two years, it’s become easier.
Since starting infusions, I’ve only been sick once, and it was with Covid. It took me a long time to get over it but I didn’t require hospitalization so infusions are definitely helping.
If you’re in a position to donate, please do. They pay well in some states and you’re helping people like me. ❤️