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Tetanus Immune Globulin

Class: Antitoxins and Immune Globulins
ATC Class: J07AM52
VA Class: IM500
Brands: HyperTET S/D

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Aug 23, 2021. Written by ASHP.

Introduction

Specific immune globulin (hyperimmune globulin). Tetanus immune globulin (TIG) contains tetanus antitoxin and is used to provide temporary passive immunity to tetanus. TIG commercially available in the US is prepared from plasma of donors immunized with tetanus toxoid. Other tetanus antitoxin preparations (e.g., equine tetanus antitoxin) may be available in other countries.

Uses for Tetanus Immune Globulin

Postexposure Prophylaxis of Tetanus

Postexposure prophylaxis of tetanus in individuals with tetanus-prone wounds who have previously received <3 doses of a preparation containing tetanus toxoid adsorbed or whose tetanus vaccination status is uncertain.

TIG provides temporary passive immunity against tetanus. It is not a substitute for active immunization with a preparation containing tetanus toxoid adsorbed and is not a substitute for adequate medical and surgical care of contaminated or potentially contaminated wounds. (See General under Dosage and Administration.)

Tetanus is a potentially fatal disease caused by a neurotoxic exotoxin produced by Clostridium tetani (tetanospasmin). C. tetani spores are ubiquitous in the environment and are found in soil and in animal (e.g., horses, sheep, cattle, dogs, cats, rats, guinea pigs, chickens) and human intestinal tracts. The spores can contaminate open wounds, especially puncture wounds or those with devitalized tissue; anaerobic wound conditions allow the spores to germinate and produce exotoxins that disseminate through the blood and lymphatic system. Neonatal tetanus occurs in infants born under nonsterile conditions to women inadequately vaccinated against tetanus; infection usually involves a contaminated umbilical stump and occurs because infant does not have passively acquired maternal antibodies against tetanus. Obstetric tetanus occurs within 6 weeks after delivery or termination of pregnancy because of contaminated wounds or abrasions or unclean deliveries or abortions. Generalized tetanus is characterized by rigidity and convulsive muscle spasms that usually involve the jaw (lockjaw) and neck and then become generalized. Tetanus occurs worldwide, almost exclusively in individuals who are unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated against the disease. An average of 31 cases reported each year in the US from 2000 through 2007 (case fatality rate 10%); 20 cases reported in 2003. Most cases of tetanus in the US occur following acute injuries or wounds (puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions) and usually occur in adults ≥40 years of age; however, an increase in the disease has been reported in younger adults (e.g., heroin abusers).

Tetanus-prone wounds include wounds contaminated with dirt, feces, soil, or saliva; puncture wounds; avulsions; and wounds resulting from crushing, burns, or frostbite. Tetanus also has been associated with apparently clean, superficial wounds, surgical procedures, insect bites, animal bites, dental infections, chronic sores and infections, and IV drug abuse. Tetanus is not transmitted person-to-person.

TIG is not necessary for tetanus postexposure prophylaxis in patients with clean, minor wounds (regardless of their immunization status) or for patients with tetanus-prone wounds who have previously received ≥3 doses of a preparation containing tetanus toxoid adsorbed.

In the event of injury and possible exposure to tetanus, the need for active immunization against tetanus with or without passive immunization with TIG depends on the individual’s vaccination status and the likelihood of contamination with tetanus bacilli (e.g., condition of wound, source of contamination). See Table 1 for ACIP guidelines regarding tetanus postexposure prophylaxis.

Tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine adsorbed (Tdap). A dose of Tdap is preferred to a dose of Td in adolescents and adults 11 through 64 years of age who have not previously received a dose of Tdap. Use Td in individuals in this age group who previously received a dose of Tdap.

Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids adsorbed (Td). Td is used in adults, adolescents, and children ≥7 years of age. For children 6 weeks through 6 years of age, DTaP usually is indicated, but DT can be used if pertussis antigens are contraindicated. Monovalent tetanus toxoid adsorbed generally is used only when preparations containing tetanus and diphtheria antigens and preparations containing tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis antigens are contraindicated or unavailable.

If only 3 doses of tetanus toxoid fluid (no longer commercially available in the US) have been received previously, a fourth dose should be given as a preparation containing tetanus toxoid adsorbed.

Yes, if it has been >10 years since last dose of tetanus toxoid-containing preparation.

Yes, if it has been >5 years since last dose of tetanus toxoid-containing preparation; more frequent booster doses not needed and can accentuate adverse effects.

Adapted from the Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) on prevention of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis published in MMWR Recomm Rep. 1991; 40(RR-10):1-28, MMWR Recomm Rep. 2006; 55(RR-3):1-43, and MMWR Recomm Rep. 2006; 55(RR-17):1-37.

Table 1. Summary Guide to Tetanus Prophylaxis in Routine Wound Management100112113

Clean, Minor Wounds

All Other Wounds

Previous Doses of Tetanus Toxoid Adsorbed Received

Tdap or Td

TIG

Tdap or Td

TIG

Unknown or <3

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

≥3

No

No

No

No

Any individual whose tetanus vaccination status is unknown or uncertain should be considered to have had no previous doses of tetanus toxoid adsorbed.

Anti-infectives are not indicated for tetanus postexposure prophylaxis.

Treatment of Tetanus

Treatment of tetanus. Used in conjunction with an anti-infective active against C. tetani (e.g., metronidazole, penicillin G) and with sedatives and muscle relaxants as needed.

Treatment of neonatal tetanus in conjunction with an anti-infective active against C. tetani (e.g., penicillin G).

Evidence of effectiveness of TIG in the treatment of active tetanus infection is limited and optimum dosage not established. Although TIG can neutralize unbound exotoxin, it does not affect toxin already bound to nerve endings.

Recovery from tetanus does not result in naturally-acquired tetanus immunity. As soon as possible, initiate or complete active immunization against tetanus using a preparation containing tetanus toxoid adsorbed.

Tetanus Immune Globulin Dosage and Administration

General

  • Wound care is an essential part of postexposure prophylaxis or treatment of tetanus. Wound care is necessary regardless of vaccination status. Clean and debride wounds properly, especially if dirt or necrotic tissue is present; remove all necrotic tissue and foreign material.

  • For treatment of tetanus, an anti-infective active against C. tetani (e.g., metronidazole or penicillin G given for 10–14 days) may be indicated in addition to TIG. Control tetanic muscle spasms as indicated. (See Treatment of Tetanus under Uses.)

Administration

IM Administration

Administer by deep IM injection.

Do not administer IV or intrathecally. (See Administration Precautions under Cautions.)

Some clinicians recommend that part of the TIG dose be infiltrated locally around wound; efficacy of this approach not proven.

IM injections of TIG preferably should be made into the anterolateral aspect of the thigh or deltoid muscle. Because of the risk of injury to the sciatic nerve, the gluteal muscle should not be used as an injection site.

Although the manufacturer recommends that aspiration (i.e., pulling back on the syringe plunger after needle insertion and before injection) be performed to ensure that a blood vessel has not been entered, ACIP and AAP state this procedure is not required because large blood vessels are not present at recommended IM injection sites.

Do not administer TIG in the same syringe or at the same injection site as tetanus toxoid adsorbed. (See Specific Drugs under Interactions.)

Do not mix with other immune globulins, vaccines, or solutions.

Dosage

Pediatric Patients

Postexposure Prophylaxis of Tetanus
Children <7 Years of Age†
IM

Single dose of 4 units/kg. Consider using adult dosage (single dose of 250 units) regardless of child’s size since theoretically the amount of toxin produced by C. tetani in a child’s body would be the same as that produced in an adult’s body.

Children ≥7 Years of Age†
IM

Single dose of 250 units.

Treatment of Tetanus
Children†
IM

3000–6000 units usually recommended. Optimum dosage not established; adjust dosage according to severity of infection.

Some clinicians suggest that a portion of the TIG dose be infiltrated locally around the wound, although efficacy of this approach has not been established.

Neonatal Tetanus†
IM

500 units has been administered in conjunction with anti-infective therapy (e.g., 10-day regimen of penicillin G).

Adults

Postexposure Prophylaxis of Tetanus
IM

Single dose of 250 units.

Treatment of Tetanus
IM

3000–6000 units usually recommended. Optimum dosage not established; adjust dosage according to severity of infection.

Some clinicians suggest that a portion of the TIG dose be infiltrated locally around the wound, although efficacy of this approach has not been established.

Special Populations

Hepatic Impairment

No specific dosage recommendations.

Renal Impairment

No specific dosage recommendations.

Geriatric Patients

No specific dosage recommendations.

Cautions for Tetanus Immune Globulin

Contraindications

  • Manufacturer states none known.

Warnings/Precautions

Warnings

Risk of Transmissible Agents in Plasma-derived Preparations

Because TIG is prepared from pooled human plasma, it may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents, including the causative agents of viral hepatitis and HIV infection, and theoretically may carry a risk of transmitting the causative agent of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or variant CJD (vCJD).

Improved donor screening, viral-inactivation procedures (e.g., solvent/detergent treatment), and/or filtration procedures have reduced, but not completely eliminated, risk of pathogen transmission with plasma-derived preparations.

The manufacturing process for TIG includes certain chemical (solvent/detergent) treatment procedures and/or heat-treatment procedures to reduce viral infectious potential.

Because no purification method has been shown to be totally effective in removing the risk of viral infectivity from plasma-derived preparations and because new blood-borne viruses or other disease agents may emerge which may not be inactivated by the manufacturing process or the chemical (solvent/detergent) treatment procedures currently used, administer TIG only when a benefit is expected.

Any infection believed to have been transmitted by TIG should be reported to the manufacturer at 800-520-2807.

Sensitivity Reactions

Hypersensitivity Reactions

Sensitization to repeated injections of human immune globulin occurs rarely.

Angioedema, nephrotic syndrome, and anaphylactic shock reported rarely.

Use caution in individuals who have exhibited previous systemic allergic reactions to immune globulin.

Skin testing (i.e., intradermal injection of concentrated IgG solutions) is unreliable since localized areas of inflammation may occur as the result of localized tissue irritation and can be misinterpreted as a positive allergy reaction.

Epinephrine and other appropriate agents should be readily available in case anaphylaxis or other serious allergic reaction occurs.

General Precautions

Individuals with Altered Immunocompetence

Recommendations regarding use of TIG in individuals with altered immunocompetence are the same as those for individuals who are not immunocompromised.

ACIP states that recommendations concerning use of TIG in patients with altered immunocompetence, including HIV-infected individuals or those severely immunocompromised because of congenital immunodeficiency, leukemia, lymphoma, aplastic anemia, generalized malignancy, or therapy with alkylating agents, antimetabolites, radiation, or corticosteroids, are the same as those for patients who are not immunocompromised.

AAP states that TIG should be used in the management of tetanus prone wounds in all HIV-infected individuals, regardless of their tetanus immunization history.

Administration Precautions

Do not administer TIG in the same syringe or at the same injection site as tetanus toxoid adsorbed. (See Specific Drugs under Interactions.)

Avoid inadvertent IV administration of TIG; serious systemic reactions (e.g., precipitous decrease in BP, anaphylaxis-like reaction) have occurred following inadvertent IV administration of immune globulin intended for IM administration.

Individuals with Bleeding Disorders

Because bleeding may occur following IM administration in individuals with thrombocytopenia or a bleeding disorder (e.g., hemophilia) or in those receiving anticoagulant therapy, use in such individuals only if benefits outweigh risks.

ACIP states that IM injections can be used in individuals who have bleeding disorders or are receiving anticoagulant therapy if a clinician familiar with the patient's bleeding risk determines that the injection can be administered with reasonable safety. In these cases, use a fine needle (23 gauge) to administer the dose and apply firm pressure to the injection site (without rubbing) for ≥2 minutes. If patient is receiving antihemophilia therapy, administer the IM dose shortly after a scheduled dose of such therapy.

Advise individual and/or their family about the risk of hematoma from IM injections.

Duration of Immunity

TIG provides only short-term protection against tetanus.

As soon as possible, initiate or complete active immunization against tetanus using a preparation containing tetanus toxoid adsorbed.

Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Category C.

Use during pregnancy only when clearly needed.

ACIP states that pregnancy is not generally considered a contraindication to use of TIG for treatment or postexposure prophylaxis of tetanus.

Pediatric Use

Safety and efficacy not established in children.

AAP recommends that postexposure prophylaxis (including use of TIG) in children follow the same guidelines as those in adults.

Geriatric Use

Information not available regarding differences in efficacy and safety between geriatric and younger individuals.

Common Adverse Effects

Slight soreness at site of injection, low-grade fever.

Interactions for Tetanus Immune Globulin

Inactivated Vaccines and Toxoids

Immune globulins, including TIG, are not expected to have a clinically important effect on the immune response to inactivated vaccines or toxoids; inactivated vaccines, recombinant vaccines, polysaccharide vaccines, and toxoids may be administered simultaneously with (using different syringes and different injection sites) or at any interval before or after administration of TIG.

Live Vaccines

Antibodies present in immune globulins, including TIG, may interfere with the immune response to certain live virus vaccines (e.g., measles, mumps, and rubella virus vaccine live [MMR], rotavirus vaccine live oral, varicella virus vaccine live). (See Specific Drugs under Interactions.) There is no evidence that immune globulin preparations interfere with the immune response to yellow fever virus vaccine live, typhoid vaccine live oral, influenza virus vaccine live intranasal, or poliovirus vaccine live oral (OPV; no longer commercially available in the US).

Specific Drugs

Drug

Interaction

Comments

Influenza vaccine

Intranasal live influenza vaccine: No evidence that immune globulin preparations interfere with the immune response to the vaccine

Parenteral inactivated influenza vaccine: Interference with the immune response to this inactivated vaccine is not expected

Intranasal live influenza vaccine or parenteral inactivated influenza vaccine may be given simultaneously with or at any interval before or after TIG

Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR)

Immune globulin preparations, including TIG, may interfere with the immune response to measles and rubella antigens contained in MMR; the effect of TIG on the immune response to mumps antigen in the vaccine is unknown

MMR should not be administered simultaneously with or within 3 months before or after TIG

If TIG is administered <14 days after MMR, revaccination is necessary at least 3 months after the TIG dose, unless serologic testing indicates that there was an adequate antibody response to all 3 antigens contained in MMR

Rotavirus vaccine

TIG may interfere with the immune response to rotavirus vaccine

Safety and efficacy data not available regarding use of rotavirus vaccine in infants who have received an immune globulin within 42 days

Rotavirus vaccine may be administered simultaneously with or at any time before or after blood or antibody-containing preparations

Tetanus toxoid adsorbed

Active immunization against tetanus should be initiated at the same time as passive immunization with TIG; however, TIG and preparations containing tetanus toxoid adsorbed should be given at separate sites using different syringes

Typhoid vaccine

Oral live typhoid vaccine (Vivotif): No evidence that immune globulin preparations interfere with the immune response to the vaccine

Parenteral inactivated typhoid vaccine (Typhim Vi): Specific studies evaluating concomitant use with immune globulins not available; interaction not expected since this is an inactivated vaccine

Oral live typhoid vaccine (Vivotif): May be given simultaneously with or at any time before or after TIG

Parenteral inactivated vaccines may be given simultaneously with TIG (using different syringes and injection sites) or at any time before or after TIG

Varicella vaccine

Immune globulin preparations, including TIG, may interfere with the immune response to varicella vaccine live

Varicella vaccine live should not be administered simultaneously with or within 3 months before or after TIG

If TIG is administered <14 days after varicella vaccine live, revaccination is necessary at least 3 months after the TIG dose, unless serologic testing indicates that there was an adequate antibody response to the vaccine

Yellow fever vaccine

No evidence that immune globulin preparations interfere with the immune response to yellow fever virus vaccine live

Yellow fever vaccine may be given simultaneously with TIG (using different syringes and injection sites) or at any time before or after TIG

Tetanus Immune Globulin Pharmacokinetics

Elimination

Half-life

Approximately 28 days.

Stability

Storage

Parenteral

Injection, for IM Use

2–8°C. Do not freeze; if freezing occurs, discard TIG.

Does not contain thimerosal or any other preservatives.

Actions

  • TIG is a sterile, concentrated, nonpyrogenic solution of immunoglobulins prepared by cold alcohol fractionation from plasma of adults immunized with tetanus toxoid.

  • TIG contains 15–18% protein. It is standardized against US Standard Antitoxin and US Control Tetanus Toxin to contain ≥250 tetanus antitoxin units per dose.

  • Used to provide temporary passive immunity to tetanus.

  • Tetanus antitoxin antibodies in TIG neutralize exotoxin produced by C. tetani, the causative organism of tetanus. TIG can only neutralize unbound exotoxin, it does not affect toxin already bound to nerve endings.

  • Tetanus incubation period is usually 8–10 days (range 3–21 days) following infection of a wound. Symptoms of neonatal tetanus usually occur during the first 2 weeks of life.

Advice to Patients

  • Advise patient and/or patient's parent or guardian of the risks and benefits of TIG.

  • Advise patient and/or patient's parent or guardian that TIG is only one component of a postexposure regimen used to prevent tetanus in unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals with a tetanus-prone wound. Importance of completing active immunization with a preparation containing tetanus toxoid adsorbed as soon as possible.

  • Importance of informing clinicians if any adverse reactions (e.g., hypersensitivity reactions) occur.

  • Advise patient and/or patient's parent or guardian that HyperTET S/D is prepared from pooled human plasma. Although improved donor screening and viral-inactivating and purification procedures used in manufacture of plasma-derived preparations have reduced the risk of pathogen transmission, TIG is a potential vehicle for transmission of human viruses, including the causative agents of viral hepatitis and HIV infection, and theoretically may carry a risk of transmitting the causative agent of CJD or vCJD.

  • Importance of informing clinicians of existing or contemplated concomitant therapy, including prescription and OTC drugs, and any concomitant illnesses.

  • Importance of women informing clinicians if they are or plan to become pregnant or plan to breastfeed.

  • Importance of informing patients of other important precautionary information. (See Cautions.)

Preparations

Excipients in commercially available drug preparations may have clinically important effects in some individuals; consult specific product labeling for details.

Please refer to the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center for information on shortages of one or more of these preparations.

Tetanus Immune Globulin

Routes

Dosage Forms

Strengths

Brand Names

Manufacturer

Parenteral

Injection, for IM use

≥250 units

HyperTET S/D (solvent/detergent treated)

Talecris

AHFS DI Essentials™. © Copyright 2022, Selected Revisions September 1, 2010. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

† Use is not currently included in the labeling approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

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