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Botulism antitoxin (Intravenous)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 19, 2022.

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Botulism Antitoxin Heptavalent ABCDEFG Equine

Uses for botulism antitoxin

Botulism antitoxin is used to treat symptoms of botulism in patients who are exposed to botulinum toxin.

Botulism is a serious disease that causes paralysis of the muscles. It is caused by a toxin made by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. Symptoms of botulism include: double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty with breathing or swallowing, dry mouth, or muscle weakness that spreads throughout the body.

Botulism antitoxin is to be given only by or under the supervision of your doctor.

Before using botulism antitoxin

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 botulism antitoxin, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to botulism antitoxin 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.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of botulism antitoxin in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of botulism antitoxin in the geriatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.


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 botulism antitoxin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergy to horses or horse blood products, history of or
  • Asthma or
  • Hay fever or seasonal allergies—May increase risk of an allergic reaction to occur again.
  • Diabetes—Botulism antitoxin contains maltose, which can interfere with some types of blood glucose monitoring systems. This can result in falsely elevated blood glucose readings which may lead to inappropriate insulin administration or unrecognized hypoglycemia

Proper use of botulism antitoxin

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you botulism antitoxin. Botulism antitoxin is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.

Botulism antitoxin comes with patient information leaflet. It is very important that you read and understand this information. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

Precautions while using botulism antitoxin

Your doctor will check your progress closely while you are receiving botulism antitoxin. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it.

Botulism antitoxin may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, fast or uneven heartbeat, lightheadedness or fainting, tightness in the chest, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after you receive the injection.

Check with your doctor right away if you have back or joint pain, a fever, swollen lymph glands, or a rash within 1 to 3 weeks after receiving botulism antitoxin. These can be signs and symptoms of a delayed allergic reaction called serum sickness.

Botulism antitoxin may cause headaches, chills, nausea, vomiting, or unusual tiredness or weakness, while you are receiving the injection or within 24 hours after you receive it. Check with your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms.

Botulism antitoxin is made from horse plasma. Some horse blood products have transmitted viruses to people who have received them, although the risk is low. Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms that concern you.

Botulism antitoxin 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.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  • Headache
  • hives or welts
  • itching skin
  • nausea
  • rash
  • redness of the skin

Less common

  • Chills
  • fever
  • throat discomfort


  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • cough
  • difficulty with breathing
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • feeling of discomfort
  • increased sweating
  • inflammation of the joints
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • muscle aches
  • no blood pressure or pulse
  • noisy breathing
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • stopping of heart
  • swollen lymph glands
  • tightness in the chest
  • unconsciousness
  • unusual tiredness

Incidence not known

  • Blurred vision
  • confusion
  • difficulty with moving
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • hoarseness
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • muscle cramping
  • muscle pains or stiffness
  • noisy breathing
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • redness of the skin
  • sweating
  • swollen joints
  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin

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:


  • Anxiety
  • decrease in the frequency of urination
  • decrease in urine volume
  • difficulty in passing urine (dribbling)
  • dry mouth
  • hyperventilation
  • irritability
  • painful urination
  • restlessness
  • shaking
  • trouble sleeping

Incidence not known

  • Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site

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.

Further information

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