What is primary immunodeficiency (PI) disease?

Understanding primary immunodeficiency (PI) disease

Primary immunodeficiency (PI) disease in adults is commonly referred to by different names, including:

  • Primary immune deficiency
  • Primary humoral immunodeficiency
  • Primary immunodeficiency disorder

There are many forms of PI, making up a group of over 350 rare and chronic disorders.1 The most common types result in the inability to make a very important type of protein called antibodies, which protect your body against infections.2

How PI can affect you

If you have a common type of PI—where you are missing antibodies—your body is less able to fight bacteria and viruses that cause infections. As a result, you may experience repeated infections, infections that won’t go away, unusual infections, and severe infections.1

PI signs and symptoms

One of the most common signs of PI is having infections that can appear in a variety of areas, including your:

  • Skin
  • Sinuses
  • Throat
  • Ears
  • Lungs
  • Brain or spinal cord
  • Urinary or intestinal tracts1

PI signs and symptoms can also include:

  • Frequent pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Inflammation of internal organs
  • Digestive problems like cramping and loss of appetite
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes1

Talk to your healthcare provider about any infections and other symptoms you may develop. You and your healthcare provider can team up to create an effective PI treatment plan.

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It is also helpful to learn all that you can about PI.

Learn More
  1. Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF). About Primary Immunodeficiencies. https://www.primaryimmune.org/about-primary-immunodeficiencies. Accessed April 25, 2019.
  2. Cutaquig® [package insert]. Lachen, Switzerland: Octapharma AG; 2018.