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Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine)

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

Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) is used for:

Treating rejection in kidney transplant patients. It is also used with other medicines to delay the onset of kidney transplant rejection. Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) is also used to treat moderate to severe aplastic anemia in certain patients who cannot have a bone marrow transplant.

Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) if:

  • you are allergic to anti-thymocyte globulin (equine), any ingredient in anti-thymocyte globulin (equine), 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.

Before using anti-thymocyte globulin (equine):

Some medical conditions may interact with anti-thymocyte globulin (equine). 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine). However, no specific interactions with anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine):

Use anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine), contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use anti-thymocyte globulin (equine).

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine).
  • Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) may cause dizziness or light-headedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) 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.
  • Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) while you are pregnant. It is not known if anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feeding while taking anti-thymocyte globulin (equine).

Possible side effects of anti-thymocyte globulin (equine):

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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine):

Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) is handled and stored by a health care provider. You will not store it at home.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about anti-thymocyte globulin (equine), please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine) 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine). It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to anti-thymocyte globulin (equine). 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 anti-thymocyte globulin (equine).

Issue Date: June 3, 2015

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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