botulism antitoxin, heptavalent

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botulism antitoxin, heptavalent

(bot–yoo-lizm an-ti-toks-in hep-ta-vay-lent) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: antidotes
Pharmacologic: immune globulins
Pregnancy Category: C


Treatment of symptomatic botulism after documented/suspected exposure to botulism neurotoxins A, B, C, D, E, F or G.


Contains antibody fragments prepared from immunized horses. Provides passive immunization by binding the neurotoxins, bound complex is then cleared from circulation.

Therapeutic effects

Decreased duration/sequelae of neurotoxin poisoning (muscle paralysis) in botulism.


Absorption: IV administration results in complete bioavailability
Distribution: Unknown.
Metabolism and Excretion: Neurotoxin/antitoxin complex cleared by organs involved in immune processing
Half-life: Serotype A antitoxin— 8.6 hr, serotype B antitoxin— 34.3 hr, serotype C antitoxin— 29.6 hr, serotype D antitoxin—7.5 hr, serotype E antitoxin— 7.7 hr, serotype F antitoxin— 14.1 hr, serotype G antitoxin— 11.7 hr—

Time/action profile (preservation of muscle function)

IVunknownunknownup to 28 days


Contraindicated in: None.
Use Cautiously in: Patients at risk of acute hypersensitivity reactions, including history of hypersensitivity to horses, equine products, asthma or hay fever (consider skin sensitivity testing) Obstetric: Use only if benefits outweigh risks Lactation: Use cautiously if breastfeeding

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • headache (most frequent)
  • fatigue


  • edema (most frequent)
  • vasovagal reaction


  • nausea (most frequent)


  • pruritus (most frequent)
  • urticaria (most frequent)
  • rash


  • arthralgia
  • myalgia


  • chills (most frequent)
  • fever
  • delayed allergic reactions including serum sickness
  • hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis
  • infusion reactions
  • tranmission of infectious agents (equine plasma source)


Drug-Drug interaction

May interfere with blood glucose testing due to presense of maltose and alter decisions regarding insulin and antidiabetic agents (use glucose-specific test).


Intravenous (Adults and Children ≥17 yr) One vial
Intravenous (Children 1 – <17 yr) Body weight > 55 kg—100% of adult dose; body weight 50–54 kg—80% of adult dose; body weight 45–49 kg—75% of the adult dose; body weight 40–44 kg—70% of adult dose; body weight 35–39 kg—65% of adult dose; body weight 30–34 kg—60% of adult dose; body weight 25–29 kg—50% of adult dose; body weight 20–24 kg—40% of adult dose; body weight 15–19 kg—30% of adult dose; body weight 10–14 kg—20% of adult dose
Intravenous (Infants <1 yr) 10% of the adult dose


Solution for injection (requires dilution, contains maltose): serotype A antitoxin 4,500 U, serotype B antitoxin 3,300 U, serotype C antitoxin 3,000 U, serotype D antitoxin 600 U, serotype E antitoxin 5,100 U, serotype F antitoxin 3,000 U, serotype G antitoxin 600 U /vial

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess severity of symptoms of botulism (double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle weakness that spreads through body, difficulty breathing ) during therapy. May occur as early as three hours or as late as a few days. May take weeks or months to resolve.
  • Monitor vital signs during infusion. If tolerated, infusion rate can be increased incrementally up to maximum infusion rate, and continued for remainder of administration. Decrease infusion rate if discomfort or infusion-related adverse reactions occur.
  • Assess for infusion reactions (chills, fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting, arthralgia, myalgia, fatigue, vasovagal reactions). Reduce rate of infusion; if continues or worsens, discontinue infusion.
  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of allergic reaction (urticaria, pruritus, erythema, angioedema, bronchospasm, wheezing, cough, stridor, laryngeal edema, hypotension, tachycardia) during and following infusion. If reaction occurs, immediately discontinue infusion and administer emergency care. Patients allergic to horses, or those with asthma and hay fever are at greatest risk.
  • Lab Test Considerations: Maltose in infusion may interfere with glucose monitoring based on glucose dehydrogenase pyrroloquinoline-quinone (GDH-PQQ) method leading to falsely ↑ blood glucose and excess insulin administered. Use only test systems that are glucose specific.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Risk for infection (Indications)
Deficient knowledge, related to disease process and medication regimen (Patient/Family Teaching)


  • Administer in a facility medication, personnel, and equipment to deal with anaphylaxis.
  • Skin Test: For patients at risk of acute hypersensitivity reactions, consider skin sensitivity testing. Administer of 0.02 mL of 1:1000 saline-diluted botulism antitoxin heptavalent intradermally on palmar surface of forearm. If test is negative, repeat test using 1:100 dilution. Perform concurrent positive (histamine) and negative (saline) control tests. A positive test is a wheal with surrounding erythema at least 3 millimeters larger than negative control test; read at 15–20 minutes. Histamine control must be positive for valid interpretation.
  • Intermittent Infusion: Bring vial to room temperature; thaw by placing in warm water bath for 1 hr. Diluent: Dilute 1:10 in 0.9% NaCl by adding solution from vial to appropriate amount of saline in an IV bag. Do not use any other diluents. As fill volume per vial varies by lot number (10 to 22 mL per vial), 90 to 200 mL of 0.9% NaCl will be needed. Withdraw entire contents of vial to obtain total volume in vial. If a partial vial is required (for pediatric dosing), withdraw entire contents of vial to ensure accurate dose calculation. Do not shake. Do not use solutions that are turbid, cloudy, or contain particles. Discard unused portion.
  • Rate: Infuse slowly. Use an intravenous line with constant infusion pump. Use of an in line filter is optional. Infuse at lowest rate possible for patients with risk for hypersensitivity. For adults, begin infusion at 0.5 mL/min; may double rate every 30 min as tolerated to a maximum of 2 mL/min.
    • For children 1–17 years old, begin infusion at 0.01 mL/kg/min; do not exceed adult rate. May increase by 0.01 mL/kg/min every 30 min if tolerated to a maximum of 0.03 mL/kg/min. Do not exceed adult rate.
    • For infants <1 year, begin infusion at 0.01 mL/kg/min; may increase by 0.01 mL/kg/min every 30 min if tolerated up to a maximum of 0.03 mL/kg/min.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Explain purpose of medication to patient.
  • Advise patient to report signs and symptoms of delayed allergic reactions (serum sickness, fever, urticarial or maculopapular rash, myalgia, arthralgia, lymphadenopathy) to health care professional promptly. Usually occurs 10–21 days after infusion, but may occur sooner.
  • Inform patient that despite screening of horses, botulism antitoxin heptavalent is prepared from equine plasma and may contain infectious agents such as viruses that can cause disease.
  • Advise female patient to notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or suspected or if breastfeeding.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Decreased duration/sequelae of neurotoxin poisoning (muscle paralysis) in botulism.