Immune therapy is successful with other types of autoimmune disease, and because of the link of endometriosis to autoimmune diseases, researchers suggest that immune therapy may work against endometriosis. Because the FDA hasn't approved any of these more aggressive treatments for endometrio-sis, we include them in this chapter. The two main treatments include
1 Intravenous immunoglobulin (TVIG): IVIG is a sterile protein preparation derived from human blood, given intravenously. IVIG is being used in other autoimmune disorders with some success, but some studies have found no real benefit to IVIG. The biggest problem with this treatment is the cost, $2,500 to $4,000 per treatment, which most insurance companies don't cover because IVIG isn't approved for use in endometriosis.
IVIG comes from the same blood pool used for transfusions, so it's quite safe, because these products are specially treated to filter out and kill viruses. The IVIG products available in the United States and the United Kingdom have, according to manufacturers, not resulted in a single HIV transmission in more than 2 million administrations.
i Pentoxifylline (Trental): Trental is an oral medication that normalizes the activity of a wide range of immune cells that may contribute to endometriosis. One study done by Dr. Michael Vernon in Kentucky found that Trental treatment caused endometriosis to shrink in animals, and a study in Spain showed the pregnancy rate for women treated with Trental was 31 percent compared to 18 percent for women treated with placebo (sugar pills).
Trental has an advantage over IVIG because it's fairly inexpensive, is taken by mouth, and less than 1 percent of patients report noticeable side effects. Tell your doctor you're taking this medication before any type of surgery, including dental surgery, because increased bleeding is a possible side effect.
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