Use of subcutaneous immunoglobulin in stiff person syndrome: Case series

Salman Aljarallah, Scott D. Newsome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction:Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has been shown to be effective for the treatment of stiff person syndrome (SPS). However, some patients might not tolerate it. We report the tolerability profile of subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIg) in patients with SPS who did not tolerate IVIG. To our knowledge, the use of SCIg in SPS has not been reported before in a case series.Patient concerns:The five patients included in this case series presented with various combinations of symptoms of spasms, axial and limb stiffness, and exaggerated responses to outside stimuli. These symptoms often lead to gait and functional impairment.Diagnosis:Patients were diagnosed with classic SPS as they met the clinical criteria, which require the presence of spasms, axial rigidity, and hyperexcitability.Interventions:Subcutaneous immunoglobulin infusion.Outcomes:Five patients were identified that were treated with SCIg. Three tested positive for serum anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 antibodies prior to any treatment. The mean age at SCIg initiation was 33 years (range: 22-47). The mean duration of SPS prior to SCIg initiation was 5.9 years (range: 2.5-7). All patients used IVIG for at least two months (up to 18 months) but switched to SCIg due to IVIG side effects. Duration of SCIg use ranged from 4 months to 6 years (mean, 19.2 months). Upon switching to SCIg, the SPS symptoms remained stable. SCIg was well-tolerated in most as only one patient discontinued SCIg due to side effects.Conclusion:This case series highlights that SCIg could be a treatment option for patients with SPS, especially when IVIG is not feasible. Injection site reactions might be a limiting factor in some patients treated with SCIg. Prospective controlled studies are needed to confirm SCIg treatment durability and efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E25260
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 26 2021


  • autoimmune diseases
  • case reports
  • immunoglobulin
  • stiff person syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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