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Hyperimmunoglobulinemia E (Job) Syndrome Treatment & Management

  • Author: Harumi Jyonouchi, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
Updated: Oct 21, 2015

Medical Care

Prophylactic antimicrobials against S aureus and Candida species constitute the most important management of HIES. The first-line anti-staphylococcal antibiotics are dicloxacillin or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Fluconazole is the drug of choice against Candida species.

Eczematous dermatitis requires rigorous topical therapy with steroids and a moisturizing cream. Topical application of calcineurin inhibitors (tacrolimus and pimecrolimus) may also be used for controlling eczematous lesions, but their immunosuppressive actions on skin infection should be carefully monitored. A drug to control pruritus is often needed; this may be diphenhydramine or a longer-acting antihistamine such as loratadine, fexofenadine, desloratadine, or cetirizine. Dermatitis control becomes essential when casts are applied to manage fractures or scoliosis.

When pneumonia develops, it is usually due to S aureus infection. Generally, intravenous nafcillin or vancomycin for methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) is first-line therapy. Haemophilus influenzae type b and non–typable strains also cause pneumonia; in these cases, cefuroxime intravenously is the drug of choice. Superinfection of pneumatoceles or lung abscesses with Aspergillus species requires intravenous amphotericin for several months; usually, surgical intervention is also necessary.

Chest radiograph of a patient with autosomal domin Chest radiograph of a patient with autosomal dominant (AD) hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome (HIES) and a lung abscess following multiple staphylococcal pneumonias. Aspergillus fumigatus was isolated from the abscess.

When superinfection with P aeruginosa or other gram-negative bacteria is present, an aminoglycoside plus ceftazidime and surgical intervention are appropriate.

In the case of P jiroveci pneumonia, intravenous trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is required. The author has seen unusually severe and prolonged pneumonitis from respiratory syncytial virus in infants; inpatient respiratory support has been required.

Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is curative for a significant number of primary immunodeficiency diseases; however, one patient with HIES was reported to have recurrence of HIES following successful hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Given a role of DOCK8 in T- and B-cell development/function, DOCK8 deficiency may require BMT at an earlier age, depending on penetrance.

Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of primary immunodeficiencies have been established.[34]


Surgical Care

See the list below:

  • Thoracic surgical intervention to drain abscesses and empyemas, treat bronchial artery bleeding, and resect bronchopulmonary fistulas is frequently required. Lobectomy has been performed, although it can be technically difficult.
  • Orthopedic procedures are needed to correct scoliosis or treat fractures.
  • Surgical drainage of deep-seated abscesses in the skin and muscle may require postsurgical packing during a prolonged healing phase.


See the list below:

  • Dermatologic advice may be sought, but eczematous dermatitis often seems intractable.
  • Pulmonologists may help optimize the management of chronic lung disease.
  • Infectious disease specialists may be helpful when difficult-to-treat organisms, such as MRSA, are suspected or isolated or when difficult-to-treat sites of infection are present. In general, prophylactic antibiotics covering S aureus and anticandidal drugs are helpful for patients with HIES.
  • Orthopedic surgeons must consider the possibility of osteopenia contributing to delayed healing of fractures. They must also contend with the high risk of fracture-site infection, particularly with S aureus, related to pinning or to the overlying poorly controlled dermatitis. In addition, they need to manage significant scoliosis.
  • In patients with AD-HIES with variable penetrance, input by a geneticist is necessary to help identify additional affected family members. More subtly affected individuals may be best diagnosed by a geneticist who is skilled in identifying the dysmorphic features of AD HIES. Likewise, genetic counseling may also be indicated for patients with AR HIES who have DOCK8 deficiency with high risk of malignacies and neurological manifestations.


A regular-for-age nutritious diet is needed. No therapeutic advantage has been observed with calcium or vitamin D supplementation for osteoporosis. Even if the patient reveals positive reactivity in prick skin testing or in food allergen–specific IgE, avoidance of food allergens seldom attenuates eczema skin lesions.



See the list below:

  • Encourage patients with hyperimmunoglobulinemia E syndrome to exercise actively, attend school, and maintain employment. Discourage them from smoking, being exposed to smoke, and using illegal drugs because these actions further impair pulmonary function.
  • Patients generally benefit from outdoor activities.
  • Good skin care is essential.
  • Given the reasonably good survival rate into adulthood, healthy activities can help patients not to be emotionally crippled from this immunodeficiency disease.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Harumi Jyonouchi, MD Faculty, Division of Allergy/Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Saint Peter's University Hospital

Harumi Jyonouchi, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Immunologists, American Medical Association, Clinical Immunology Society, New York Academy of Sciences, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, Society for Pediatric Research, Society for Mucosal Immunology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

David J Valacer, MD 

David J Valacer, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Thoracic Society, New York Academy of Sciences

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Russell W Steele, MD Clinical Professor, Tulane University School of Medicine; Staff Physician, Ochsner Clinic Foundation

Russell W Steele, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Immunologists, American Pediatric Society, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Louisiana State Medical Society, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Southern Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

James M Oleske, MD, MPH François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Pediatrics, Director, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Professor, Department of Quantitative Methods, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

James M Oleske, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Academy of Medicine of New Jersey, American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, American Association of Public Health Physicians, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Pain Society, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Infectious Diseases Society of New Jersey, Medical Society of New Jersey, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Arab Board of Family Medicine, American Academy of Pain Management, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Association of Clinical Researchers and Educators, American Academy of HIV Medicine, American Thoracic Society, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Chest radiograph of a patient with autosomal dominant (AD) hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome (HIES) and a lung abscess following multiple staphylococcal pneumonias. Aspergillus fumigatus was isolated from the abscess.
Father and daughter with autosomal dominant (AD) hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome (HIES). Note the father's distinctive facies with prominent forehead, deep-set eyes, broad nasal bridge, and wide interalar distance.
Mother and son with autosomal dominant (AD) hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome (HIES). Note the mother's distinctive facies. She had a history of multiple deep-seated abscesses that took months to heal after incision and drainage.
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