Community Patients

A Therapeutic (Plasma) Exchange

How current are your beliefs about therapeutic plasma exchange? Let’s go through a reality check.

Why does this matter?

Demand for Immunoglobulin (Ig) in Australia is growing at an annual rate of 5% – 10%. Ig is a fractionated blood product made from human plasma used to treat serious diseases such as primary immuno-deficiencies and several neurological conditions. The good news is that alternative treatment options do exist for certain conditions. TPE is one of them.

TPE is a well-established immunomodulatory therapy used to treat a variety of medical conditions including Guillain-Barré syndrome, Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and Myasthenia Gravis as well as autoimmune diseases in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own healthy cells, tissues and/or organs.

How does TPE work?

It is a procedure in which plasma is separated and extracted from the blood to remove a disease substance circulating in a patient’s plasma. The plasma is exchanged with a replacement fluid. Usually, the exchange of one plasma volume removes about 66% of the harmful antibodies and a two-plasma volume exchanges approximately 85%.

What are the common misconceptions?

There are several myths and beliefs around the use of TPE.

Myth Reality
TPE is inconvenient Many hospitals have established standard processes to ensure that apheresis therapy is readily available to prescribers through inpatient or outpatient services
TPE takes a long time The median TPE procedure time is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
TPE is not safe TPE is safe and well-tolerated, with most reactions being mild, easily treated and of limited duration. For some conditions, as the Myasthenia Gravis crisis, expert consensus suggests that TPE is more effective and works more quickly than intravenous immunoglobulin.
TPE is invasive and requires central access Most of TPE procedures are conducted via peripheral access which is generally safer, easier to obtain, and more comfortable than central access.
TPE is expensive

 

For some hospitals, TPE may offer the potential for significant cost savings

Set your misconceptions aside!

TPE is a viable alternative which can help reduce reliance on Ig products and provide better access to treatment for those conditions for which no viable therapeutic alternative to Ig exists.

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