Atgam

Generic Name: anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) (AN-tee-THY-moe-site GLOB-ue-lin (E-kwine))
Brand Name: Atgam

Atgam is used for:

Treating rejection in kidney transplant patients. It is also used with other medicines to delay the onset of kidney transplant rejection. Atgam is also used to treat moderate to severe aplastic anemia in certain patients who cannot have a bone marrow transplant.

Atgam is a lymphocyte-selective immunosuppressant. It works by decreasing the action of certain types of blood cells (T lymphocytes), which are part of the body's immune system.

Do NOT use Atgam if:

  • you are allergic to Atgam, any ingredient in Atgam, or any other gamma globulin made from horse serum

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using Atgam:

Some medical conditions may interact with Atgam. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have blood problems (eg, anemia)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Atgam. However, no specific interactions with Atgam are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if Atgam may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Atgam:

Use Atgam as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Atgam is given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Atgam, contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Atgam.

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Atgam before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Atgam is made using horse and human blood parts. There is an extremely rare risk of getting a viral disease or a central nervous system disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. No cases of viral diseases or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have been found in patients who have used Atgam.
  • Atgam may cause dizziness or light-headedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Atgam with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Atgam may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Atgam may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • A skin test is normally performed before the first dose to check for possible allergy to horse serum.
  • Do not receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) while you are using Atgam or for 6 months after using it. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
  • Lab tests, including blood cell counts, liver function tests, and kidney function tests, may be performed to monitor your condition or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if Atgam can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Atgam while you are pregnant. It is not known if Atgam is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feeding while taking Atgam.

Possible side effects of Atgam:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Headache; muscle or joint pain; nausea.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest, flank, or back pain; confusion; fainting; fast heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness or light-headedness; shortness of breath; unusual bleeding or bruising.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Atgam:

Atgam is handled and stored by a health care provider. You will not store it at home.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Atgam, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Atgam is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Atgam or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Atgam. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Atgam. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Atgam.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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