Acute Aseptic Meningitis Temporally Associated with Intravenous Polyclonal Immunoglobulin Therapy: A Systematic Review

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2024 Apr;66(2):241-249. doi: 10.1007/s12016-024-08989-1. Epub 2024 May 13.


An acute aseptic meningitis has been occasionally observed on intravenous polyclonal human immunoglobulin therapy. Since case reports cannot be employed to draw inferences about the relationships between immunoglobulin therapy and meningitis, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. Eligible were cases, case series, and pharmacovigilance studies. We found 71 individually documented cases (36 individuals ≤ 18 years of age) of meningitis. Ninety percent of cases presented ≤ 3 days after initiating immunoglobulin therapy and recovered within ≤ 7 days (with a shorter disease duration in children: ≤ 3 days in 29 (94%) cases). In 22 (31%) instances, the authors noted a link between the onset of meningitis and a rapid intravenous infusion of immunoglobulins. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed a predominantly neutrophilic (N = 46, 66%) pleocytosis. Recurrences after re-exposure were observed in eight (N = 11%) patients. Eight case series addressed the prevalence of meningitis in 4089 patients treated with immunoglobulins. A pooled prevalence of 0.6% was noted. Finally, pharmacovigilance data revealed that meningitis temporally associated with intravenous immunoglobulin therapy occurred with at least five different products. In conclusion, intravenous immunoglobulin may cause an acute aseptic meningitis. The clinical features remit rapidly after discontinuing the medication.

Keywords: Aseptic meningitis; Autoimmune disorder; Drug-induced meningitis; Intravenous polyclonal human immunoglobulin; Meta-analysis; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive / methods
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous* / administration & dosage
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous* / adverse effects
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous* / therapeutic use
  • Meningitis, Aseptic* / diagnosis
  • Meningitis, Aseptic* / etiology
  • Meningitis, Aseptic* / therapy
  • Pharmacovigilance


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous