Considerations for dosing immunoglobulin in obese patients

Clin Exp Immunol. 2017 Jun;188(3):353-362. doi: 10.1111/cei.12955. Epub 2017 Apr 17.


Obesity is a very common condition; however, the effect of excess body weight on the appropriate dose of immunoglobulin has not been defined empirically. The proposed pharmacokinetic differences between lean and obese patients and the opportunity to reduce costs has led to the proposition that obese patients should receive proportionally lower doses of immunoglobulin once a certain threshold is reached. Here the theoretical factors which could affect dosing in obese patients are considered alongside the available empirical evidence. The available evidence indicates that obesity may affect the pharmacokinetics of immunoglobulin; however, the effect is likely to be too small to have a clinically important effect on dosing. Wide interpatient individuality and highly variable clinical need mean that obesity should not play a major factor in dosing considerations. However, patients who are obese are more likely to have multiple cardiovascular risk factors and their weight indicates a large dose. This puts these patients at a higher risk of adverse reactions, and therefore caution is advised.

Keywords: IVIg; dosing; immunoglobulin; obesity; primary immunodeficiency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Drug Dosage Calculations
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / adverse effects
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / pharmacokinetics*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous