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immune globulin (intravenous) (IGIV)

Pronunciation: im MYOON GLOB yoo lin

Brand: Carimune, Flebogamma, Gammagard (obsolete), Gammagard S/D, Gammaplex, Gammar-P I.V., Gamunex, Polygam S/D, Privigen, Sandoglobulin

What is the most important information I should know about immune globulin?

Immune globulin can harm your kidneys, and this effect is increased when you also use certain other medicines harmful to the kidneys. Before using immune globulin, tell your doctor about all other medications you use. Many other drugs (including some over-the-counter medicines) can be harmful to the kidneys.

Before using immune globulin intravenous, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, diabetes (especially if you use insulin), a history of stroke or blood clot, heart disease, high blood pressure, a condition called paraproteinemia, or if you are over 65 years old.

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To be sure this medicine is helping your condition and is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your kidney function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.

This medication can cause unusual results with certain blood glucose tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using immune globulin.

Immune globulin is made from human plasma (part of the blood) which may contain viruses and other infectious agents. Donated plasma is tested and treated to reduce the risk of it containing infectious agents, but there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

What is immune globulin intravenous (IVIG)?

Immune globulin intravenous is a sterilized solution made from human plasma. It contains the antibodies to help your body protect itself against infection from various diseases.

Immune globulin is used to treat primary immune deficiency, and to reduce the risk of infection in individuals with poorly functioning immune systems such as those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). IGIV is also used to increase platelets (blood clotting cells) in people with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and to prevent aneurysm caused by a weakening of the main artery in the heart associated with Kawasaki syndrome.

Immune globulin is also used to treat chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a debilitating nerve disorder that causes muscle weakness and can affect daily activities.

Immune globulin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before using immune globulin?

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You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to an immune globulin or if you have immune globulin A (IgA) deficiency with antibody to IgA.

To make sure you can safely use immune globulin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • kidney disease;
  • diabetes (especially if you use insulin);
  • a history of stroke or blood clot;
  • heart disease or high blood pressure;
  • a condition called paraproteinemia; or
  • if you are over 65 years old.
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FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether immune globulin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

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It is not known if immune globulin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Immune globulin is made from human plasma (part of the blood) which may contain viruses and other infectious agents. Donated plasma is tested and treated to reduce the risk of it containing infectious agents, but there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

How is immune globulin intravenous given?

Immune globulin intravenous is injected into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use an IV at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.

IVIG should not be injected into a muscle or under the skin.

Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription. Throw away any unused medicine that is left over after injecting your dose.

Use each disposable needle only one time. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

IVIG is usually given every 3 to 4 weeks. Your dosing schedule may be different. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

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To be sure this medicine is helping your condition and is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your kidney function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.

This medication can cause unusual results with certain blood glucose tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using immune globulin.

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Some brands of immune globulin should be stored in a refrigerator, while others can be kept at room temperature. Follow the directions on your prescription label or ask your pharmacist if you have questions about how to store the medication. Do not allow the medicine to freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using immune globulin?

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Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using IVIG. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), oral polio, rotavirus, smallpox, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), H1N1 influenza, and nasal flu vaccine.

What are the possible side effects of immune globulin?

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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • drowsiness, confusion, mood changes, increased thirst, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting;
  • swelling, weight gain, feeling short of breath;
  • wheezing, chest tightness;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • black or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
  • red or pink urine;
  • sudden numbness or weakness, sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision or speech;
  • chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, warmth or swelling in one or both legs;
  • fever with headache, neck stiffness, chills, increased sensitivity to light, purple spots on the skin, and/or seizure (convulsions); or
  • pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine, fever, confusion or weakness.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild headache;
  • dizziness;
  • tired feeling;
  • back pain, muscle cramps;
  • minor chest pain; or
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect immune globulin?

Immune globulin can harm your kidneys. This effect is increased when you also use other medicines harmful to the kidneys. You may need dose adjustments or special tests if you have recently used:

  • lithium (Lithobid);
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall);
  • pain or arthritis medicines such as aspirin (Anacin, Excedrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Naprelan, Treximet), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Arthrotec, Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren, Flector Patch, Pennsaid, Solareze), indomethacin (Indocin), meloxicam (Mobic), and others;
  • medicines used to treat ulcerative colitis, such as mesalamine (Pentasa) or sulfasalazine (Azulfidine);
  • medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection, such as cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), sirolimus (Rapamune) or tacrolimus (Prograf);
  • IV antibiotics such as amphotericin B (Amphotec, AmBisome, Abelcet), amikacin (Amikin), bacitracin (Baci IM), capreomycin (Capastat), gentamicin (Garamycin), kanamycin (Kantrex), streptomycin, or vancomycin (Vancocin, Vancoled);
  • antiviral medicines such as acyclovir (Zovirax), adefovir (Hepsera), cidofovir (Vistide), foscarnet (Foscavir), ganciclovir (Cytovene), valacyclovir (Valtrex), or valganciclovir (Valcyte); or
  • cancer medicine such as aldesleukin (Proleukin), carmustine (BiCNU, Gliadel), cisplatin (Platinol), ifosfamide (Ifex), oxaliplatin (Eloxatin), streptozocin (Zanosar), or tretinoin (Vesanoid).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with immune globulin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about immune globulin intravenous.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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