Gammaglobulin


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Gammaglobulin

 

Definition

Gammaglobulin is a type of protein found in the blood. When gammaglobulins are extracted from the blood of many people and combined, they can be used to prevent or treat infections.

Purpose

This medicine is used to treat or prevent diseases that occur when the body's own immune system is not effective against the disease. When disease-causing agents enter the body, they normally trigger the production of antibodies, proteins that circulate in the blood and help fight the disease. Gammaglobulin contains some of these antibodies. When gammaglobulins are taken from the blood of people who have recovered from diseases such as chickenpox or hepatitis, they can be given to other people to make them temporarily immune to those diseases. With hepatitis, for example, this is done when someone who has not been vaccinated against hepatitis is exposed to the disease.

Description

Gammaglobulin, also known as immunoglobulin, immune serum globulin or serum therapy, is injected either into a vein or into a muscle. When injected into a vein, it produces results more quickly than when injected into a muscle.

Recommended dosage

Doses are different for different people and depend on the person's body weight and the condition for which he or she is being treated.

Precautions

Anyone who has had unusual reactions to gammaglobulin in the past should let his or her physician know before taking the drugs again. The physician should also be told about any allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, or other substances.
People who have certain medical conditions may have problems if they take gammaglobulins. For example:
  • Gammaglobulins may worsen heart problems or deficiencies of immunoglobin A (IgA, a type of antibody)
  • Certain patients with low levels of gammaglobulins in the blood (conditions called agammaglobulinemia and hypogammaglobulinemia) may be more likely to have side effects when they take gammaglobulin.

Side effects

Minor side effects such as headache, backache, joint or muscle pain, and a general feeling of illness usually go away as the body adjusts to this medicine. These problems do not need medical attention unless they continue.
Other side effects, such as breathing problems or a fast or pounding heartbeat, should be brought to a physician's attention as soon as possible.
Anyone who shows the following signs of overdose should check with a physician immediately:
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • chills
  • tightness in the chest
  • red face
  • sweating

Key terms

Hepatitis — Inflammation of the liver caused by a virus, chemical or drugs. There are several different types of hepatitis, including the most common forms: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
Immune system — The body's natural defenses against disease and infection.
Inflammation — Pain, redness, swelling, and heat that usually develop in response to injury or illness.

Interactions

Anyone who takes gammaglobulin should let the physician know all other medicines he or she is taking and should ask whether interactions with gammaglobulin could interfere with treatment.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Branch, "Sialylation-independent mechanism involved in the amelioration of murine immune thrombocytopenia using intravenous gammaglobulin," Transfusion, vol.
Sherry, "Initial intravenous gammaglobulin treatment failure in Kawasaki disease," Pediatrics, vol.
If you're pregnant, your doctor may offer you a gammaglobulin booster injection to protect you.
The platelet count can be supported by intravenous gammaglobulin (IV IgG) (18) and anti-D (WinRho[R]).
High-dose intravenous gammaglobulin (IVIG) and aspirin were administered with a diagnosis of KD.
Both acute and chronic inflammation, as evidenced by elevations in total protein concentration, mononuclear cell counts, and the gammaglobulin (Immunoglobulin [IgG]) fraction, are typically found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of individuals, especially during acute clinical attacks.
Maintenance treatment of adults with chronic refractory immune thrombocytopenic purpura using repeated intravenous infusions of gammaglobulin. Blood 1988; 72:121-127.
At present the recommended standard treatment at this phase of the disease is a single infusion of intravenous gammaglobulin (IVIG) (2 g/kg), followed by low-dose aspirin therapy.
Normally, in the foetus, the concentration of total protein and albumin progressively increases with little change in globulins and an absence of gammaglobulin. In agreement with our observation, Oztabak and Ozpinar (2006) measured a similar range of precolostral globulin concentrations in lambs at birth.
In addition to the concepts defined above, it also may be useful to look closer at the human body's immune response and the involvement of immunoglobulin G (IgG, also known as gammaglobulin) to better understand why the team is considering this agent as a treatment option.