What are the treatments for chronic granulomatous disease (CGD)?

Doctors use several different drugs to manage the symptoms of CGD:

  • Antibiotics: Antibacterial drugs are used both for prophylaxis (prevention) and for treatment of acute infections
  • Antifungals: Antifungal drugs such as itraconazole may be used both for prophylaxis and for treatment of acute infections
  • Corticosteroids: These may be used to treat inflammatory manifestations, but are used carefully, as broad immunosuppressants may also lead to infections.
  • Interferon-gamma injections: A synthetic (human-made) version of a substance produced by the body’s immune system may decrease the severity and frequency of infections. (This treatment may be used less often due to its expense, side effects and effectiveness as compared to prophylaxis itraconazole.)

For some people, doctors may use a stem cell transplant to treat or, in some cases, cure CGD. During a stem cell transplant, healthy stem cells from a donor replace the faulty neutrophils in the white blood cells so they can fight infections. Because this procedure is complicated and has risks, doctors look at a person’s age, health and other factors when considering it.

What are the complications associated with CGD?

CGD can lead to complications including:

  • Autoimmune disorders (when the body attacks its own cells) – though this happens in less than 5 percent of all cases
  • Difficulty digesting food due to abscesses and inflammation in the intestines
  • Growth retardation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (disorder that involves bloody stool, diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting)

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