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All about: Rabies Immune Globulin

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • BayRab
  • Hyperab
  • Imogam Rabies-HT
  • Imogam

In Canada—

  • Hyperab
  • Imogam

Generic name product may be available in the U.S. and Canada.

Other commonly used names are HRIG and RIG .

Category

  • Immunizing agent, passive

Description

Rabies immune globulin (RAY-beez im-MUNE GLOB-yoo-lin) is used along with rabies vaccine to prevent infection caused by the rabies virus. Rabies immune globulin works by giving your body the antibodies it needs to protect it against the rabies virus. This is called passive protection. This passive protection lasts long enough to protect your body until your body can produce its own antibodies against the rabies virus.

Rabies immune globulin is given to persons who have been exposed (for example, by a bite, scratch, or lick) to an animal that is known, or thought, to have rabies. This is called post-exposure prophylaxis. Rabies immune globulin is used only in persons who have never before received the rabies vaccine.

Rabies infection is a serious, and often fatal, infection. In the U.S., rabies in wild animals, especially raccoons, skunks, and bats, accounts for most cases of rabies passed on to humans, pets, and other domestic animals. In Canada, the animals most often infected with rabies are foxes, skunks, bats, dogs, and cats. Horses, swine, and cattle also have been known to become infected with rabies. In much of the rest of the world, including Latin America, Africa, and Asia, dogs account for most cases of rabies passed on to humans.

If you are being (or will be) treated for a possible rabies infection while traveling outside of the U.S. or Canada, contact your doctor as soon as you return to the U.S. or Canada, since it may be necessary for you to have additional treatment.

Rabies immune globulin is to be administered only by or under the supervision of your doctor or other health care professional. It is available in the following dosage form:

  • Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S. and Canada)

Before Receiving This Medicine

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

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to rabies immune globulin or any other kind of human immune globulin. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, thimerosal or other preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals. However, the use of rabies immune globulin in pregnant women has not been reported to cause problems.

Breast-feeding—Rabies immune globulin has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children—Although there is no specific information comparing use of rabies immune globulin 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.

Older adults—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 rabies immune globulin in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of rabies immune globulin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiencies—Rabies immune globulin may cause an allergic reaction to occur

Proper Use of This Medicine

Dosing—The dose of rabies immune globulin will be different for different patients. The following information includes only the average dose of rabies immune globulin.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • For preventing rabies infection:
      • Adults and children—The dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 20 International Units (IU) per kilogram (kg) (9.1 IU per pound) of body weight. This medicine is injected into the buttocks (gluteal) muscle and may also be injected around the areas of any wounds caused by the animal with rabies. This medicine is usually used on the first day of your rabies treatment along with the first dose of rabies vaccine. If this medicine is not used on the first day, it may be used any day up through the seventh day of your rabies treatment.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. The following side effects may occur, but usually do not need medical attention.

However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

Less common

Fever; pain, soreness, tenderness, or stiffness of the muscles at the place(s) of injection—may last for several hours after the injection(s)

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

Revised: 11/04/1999

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