PURPOSE: To study the treatment of uveitis that has not responded to immunosuppressive medication. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) effectively treats a variety of autoimmune diseases, but it has not been adequately studied in the treatment of uveitis. METHODS: The trial included patients who satisfied criteria that included noninfectious uveitis, active inflammatory disease, and a failure to respond adequately to immunosuppressive medication. We treated two patients with IVIg (0.5 gm/day, 3 days/mo initial dosage) as a pilot study and then treated an additional eight patients with a similar dosage as part of a formal but uncontrolled protocol. RESULTS: Patients on the protocol have been followed for a median of 11 months and have received a median of 7.5 treatment cycles. Five of 10 patients have had a clinically important and sustained improvement in visual acuity, and two of eight protocol patients have markedly reduced their immunosuppressive medication. CONCLUSIONS: Intravenous immunoglobulin can benefit some patients with uveitis that is otherwise refractory to immunosuppressive therapy. Although our preliminary experience is encouraging, the use of IVIg for uveitis should be limited because of cost, toxicity, the requirement for repeated administration, and the absence of controlled trials that demonstrate efficacy.
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