Intralipid Infusions – what it is, usage and possible side effects

Since the 1960s, intralipids have been fed intravenously to patients to boost nutrition after operations. Premature babies get them too. A blend of soya bean oil, egg yolk, glycerin and water, intralipids infuse your body with calories. You might not make these essential fatty acids yourself – or at least not in the quantity given.


What is Intralipid?

Evidence from both animal and human studies suggest that intralipid administered intravenously may enhance implantation. Intralipid is a 20% intravenous fat emulsion used routinely as a source of fat and calories for patients requiring parental nutrition. It is a synthetic product composed of 10% soybean oil, 1.2% egg yolk phospholipids, 2.25% gylcerine and water. Intralipid infusions stimulated the immune system to remove “danger signals” that can lead to pregnancy loss. The appeal of Intralipid lies in the fact that it is relatively inexpensive and is not a blood product.

This product is given by injection into a vein as directed by your doctor.

In 2011, UK researchers gave intralipid infusions to 50 women. All had endured numerous unsuccessful IVF cycles. Half of them got pregnant after taking the intralipids. The miscarriage rate was higher for another group who weren’t given intralipids. Small study, but an interesting one.

Some doctors think natural killer (NK) cells in the body attack embryos and that intralipids stop that happening. But larger randomized trials into IVF and intralipids are needed to really prove this.

The truth is, intralipids might help. Might. Not will. If you’ve had miscarriages, repeated implantation failure and have elevated NK levels, intralipid infusion therapy will be on your clinic’s price list.

A typical course of IVF intralipid treatment is two infusions: the first one 7 to 10 days before your scheduled egg retrieval; the second on your embryo transfer day. Some clinics propose a third infusion after a positive pregnancy test and monthly ones till the 13-week mark.


Intralipid infusions as treatment for recurrent unexplained abortion?

It can be hypothesized from the human clinical trial data that Intralipid even in small doses could be an effective antiabortion treatment. The number of patients in the published study is too small for the required degree of precision. Intralipid was highly effective in preventing abortion in mice, and protection was prolonged. This may be explained by previous data in the literature showing that Intralipid affects the reticuloendothelial system of the recipient. CONCLUSIONS: The evidence suggests that Intralipid might be an effective treatment for human recurrent miscarriages, and injection into women who may become pregnant has been found ethically acceptable at one university center. Comparison of Intralipid to partner leukocyte immunotherapy or IVIG would be worthwhile. For adequate statistical power, this would require a large, multicenter, prognostically stratified randomized controlled trial.

Intralipid is effective in enhancing live birth rates among women with elevated NK cell cytotoxicity and a history of recurrent implantation failure and recurrent pregnancy loss.

Intralipid is effective in suppressing in vivo abnormal NK-cell functional activity. The results suggest that Intralipid can be used successfully as a therapeutic option to modulate abnormal NK activity in women with reproductive failure.


Possible side effects of intralipid infusions.

Headache, dizziness, flushing, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting or sweating may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), pain/swelling/redness at injection site, pain/swelling/redness of arms/legs, bluish skin, sudden weight gain, shortness of breath, back/chest pain.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes, bone pain, muscle weakness, yellowing skin/eyes, dark urine, easy bruising/bleeding, severe stomach/abdominal pain, trouble breathing.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor.


Precautions before using intralipid infusions.


Intralipid infusions should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this product, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: high fat (lipid) levels in the blood.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: severe liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, anemia, blood clotting disorder.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when it is clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.