No specific treatment is available. Some people gradually develop normal levels of IgA without treatment.
Infections should be treated with antibiotics. In some cases, longer courses of antibiotics may be needed to prevent infections from coming back.
Those with selective IgA deficiency who also have IgG subclass deficiencies may be helped with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), given through a vein. Subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIG) treatments given under the skin may also help.
Autoimmune disease treatment is based on the specific problem.
Note: People with complete IgA deficiency may develop anti-IgA antibodies if given blood products and IVIG. This may lead to allergies or life-threatening anaphylactic shock. These individuals can safely be given IgA-depleted IVIG.
Selective IgA deficiency is less harmful than many other immunodeficiency diseases.
Some people with IgA deficiency will recover on their own and begin to produce IgA in larger quantities over a period of years.
Patients with IgA deficiency may develop antibodies to IgA, and can have severe, even life-threatening reactions to transfusions of blood and blood products. If transfusions are necessary, washed cells may be cautiously given.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Consider genetic counseling if you have a family history of selective IgA deficiency and you plan to have children.
If you have an IgA deficiency, be sure to mention it to your health care provider if IVIG or other blood-component transfusions are suggested as a treatment for any condition.
Genetic counseling may be of value to prospective parents with a family history of selective IgA deficiency.
Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.