What Is Autoimmunity
Autoimmunity is when the body misidentifies its own tissue and attacks it. This hyperactivity can lead to serious tissue damage. These conditions can be life-threatening if left untreated. Common autoimmune conditions are lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Manifestations of Autoimmune Conditions
People with autoimmune disorders suffer from flares. This is when the immune system’s activity increases and the body mistakenly attacks itself causing major symptoms and interfering with everyday life. Moderate lupus flares usually consist of skin rashes and joint pain. Severe lupus flares can damage internal organs. Rheumatoid arthritis damages joints during flares. Flare mitigation is of the utmost importance to individuals with autoimmune conditions.
Medication and IV Therapy
Medical professionals can prescribe lupus patients creams and oral medications to treat the autoimmune condition. However, they are not always effective. Intravenous (IV) infusion or infusion therapy is medication administered through a vein into the bloodstream and is an alternative. IV infusion allows the medication to reach higher levels in the blood than when the same amount is taken orally. Due to its potency, medication administered via IV works faster.
Different IV Therapy Treatments
One clinical trial found that “intravenous cyclophosphamide (IVCY) has been a recommended therapy for severe lupus nephritis or neurological flare-ups in lupus patients” (De Bandt et al 1994). IVCY seems efficacious when given at the very beginning of the flare (De Bandt et al 1994). However, medical professionals believe that benefits are rather short-term: “treatment of severe lupus nephritis in children with intravenous pulse cyclophosphamide is associated with favorable short term results” (De Bandt et al 1994).
Individuals with autoimmune conditions are looking to alternative IV therapies to help curb symptoms. Some believe that high-dose vitamin c can combat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus flares from the onset or aid in recovery. Although most of these claims are anecdotal, vitamin c plays a critical role in repairing the body’s tissues.
Vitamin c assists the body’s immune system, which is vital for individuals with autoimmune conditions. Immune system cells accumulate vitamin c and need it to perform their task, especially phagocytes and t-cells. Vitamin c is not merely a preventive remedy. It is necessary for the immune system’s proper function. One clinical study showed that patients with Epstein-Barr viral infection showed that ascorbic acid (vitamin c) contributed to the reduction in EBV EA IgG and EBV VCA IgM antibody levels over time during high-dose vitamin c IV therapy (Hunninghake and Mikirova 2014).
How to Prepare for Infusion Therapy
Patients should discuss with their provider the timing of treatment and how to prepare for administration. This is particularly important if the medication will suppress the immune system. Providers stress that precautions must be taken for all infusion medications. Typically, the patient must be in good health with no active infections. If a patient is not feeling well, they should communicate this to their healthcare provider and may need to reschedule their appointment.
De Bandt M, Goycochea MV, Meyer O, Delahousse M, Palazzo E, M’Bappé P, Kahn MF. Traitement du lupus érythémateux aigu disséminé par cyclophosphamide en perfusions intraveineuses. Intérêts et limites [Treatment of acute systemic lupus erythematosus with intravenous infusions of cyclophosphamide. Value and limitations]. Ann Med Interne (Paris). 1994;145(2):75-87. French. PMID: 8024184.
Hunninghake, Ronald, and Nina Mikirova. 2014. “Effect Of High Dose Vitamin C On Epstein-Barr Viral Infection”. Medical Science Monitor 20: 725-732. doi:10.12659/msm.890423.