Thymoglobulin

Generic Name: antithymocyte globulin rabbit (Intravenous route)

an-tye-THYE-moe-site GLOB-ue-lin RAB-it

Intravenous route(Powder for Solution)

Should only be used by physicians experienced in immunosuppressive therapy for the management of renal transplant patients .

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Thymoglobulin

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Powder for Solution

Therapeutic Class: Immune Suppressant

Uses For Thymoglobulin

Anti-thymocyte globulin (rabbit) is an immunosuppressant. It is used to reduce the body's natural immunity in patients who receive kidney transplants.

When a patient receives an organ transplant, the body's white blood cells will try to get rid of (reject) the transplanted organ. Anti-thymocyte globulin (rabbit) works by preventing the white blood cells from doing this.

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The effect of anti-thymocyte globulin (rabbit) on the white blood cells may also reduce the body's ability to fight infections. Before you begin treatment, you and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of using it.

Anti-thymocyte globulin (rabbit) is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.

Before Using Thymoglobulin

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Although there is no specific information comparing use of anti-thymocyte globulin (rabbit) in children with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Geriatric

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of anti-thymocyte globulin (rabbit) in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergic to rabbit protein (history of)—Risk of serious allergic reaction, bleeding, and infection.
  • Infection—Anti-thymocyte globulin (rabbit) decreases your body's ability to fight infection.

Proper Use of Thymoglobulin

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • To treat kidney transplant rejection:
      • Adults—1.5 milligrams for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of your body weight injected into a vein every day for 7 to 14 days.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Precautions While Using Thymoglobulin

Treatment with anti-thymocyte globulin (rabbit) may also increase the chance of getting other infections. If you can, avoid people with colds or other infections. If you think you are getting a cold or other infection, check with your doctor.

This medicine commonly causes fever and chills within a few hours after the first dose. These effects should be less after the second dose. However, check with your doctor or nurse immediately if you have chest pain, rapid or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath or wheezing, or swelling of the face or throat after any dose.

Thymoglobulin Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Because of the way that anti-thymocyte globulin (rabbit) acts on the body, there is a chance that it may cause effects that may not occur until years after the medicine is used. These delayed effects may include certain types of cancer, such as lymphomas and skin cancers. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor.

Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
  • Black, tarry stools
  • bladder pain
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • cloudy or bloody urine
  • cold
  • confusion
  • cough or hoarseness
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • high blood pressure
  • irregular or slow heartbeat
  • lower back or side pain
  • numbness or tingling around lips hands, or feet
  • painful or difficult urination
  • shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or in mouth
  • swollen glands
  • tiredness or weakness
  • unexplained anxiety
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • weakness or heaviness of legs
Less common
  • Burning or stinging of skin
  • painful cold sores or blisters on lips, nose, eyes, or genitals

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • dizziness
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • loss of strength or energy
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • nausea
  • pain
  • swelling of ankles, feet, and fingers
  • tightness in chest
  • unusual weak feeling
  • wheezing
Less common
  • White patches on mouth, tongue, or throat

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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