Prophylactic Antibiotics Versus Immunoglobulin Replacement in Specific Antibody Deficiency

J Clin Immunol. 2020 Jan;40(1):158-164. doi: 10.1007/s10875-019-00716-2. Epub 2019 Nov 22.


Purpose: Prophylactic antibiotics (PA) and immunoglobulin replacement (IGRT) are commonly used in specific antibody deficiency (SAD); however, optimal treatment is not well-established. Our purpose is to compare treatment outcomes with IGRT and/or PA among SAD patients.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of SAD patients treated at two tertiary centers between January 2012 and May 2017 was performed. Clinical and laboratory data, and rates of infections prior to and after treatment with IGRT or PA were analyzed. Descriptive analyses, between-group comparisons of rates of infection after 1 year of treatment, and a stepwise logistic regression model were employed to explore factors contributing to treatment outcomes.

Results: We identified 65 SAD patients with mean age were 18 years (2-71 years). The baseline mean number of infections in the PA group and IGRT group was 4.71 (SD 3.15) and 7.73 (SD 6.65), respectively. Twenty-nine (44.6%) received IGRT, 7 (10.7%) received PA, 7 (10.7%) received both IGRT and PA, 15 (23.1%) failed PA and switched to IGRT, and 7 did not receive any specific treatment. After 1 year of treatment, the difference in the mean number of infections in PA vs. IGRT was not statistically significant [2.86 (2.73) vs. 4.44 (4.74), p = 0.27]. Reporting autoimmunity increased the odds for persistent infections (OR = 4.29; p = 0.047), while higher IgG levels decreased the odds for persistent infections (OR = 0.68, p = 0.018).

Conclusions: PA and IGRT are equally effective as first line in preventing infections in SAD patients. However, patients who fail PA would benefit from IGRT.

Keywords: Specific antibody deficiency; immunoglobulin replacement therapy; prophylactic antibiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / methods
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Immunoglobulins