Anti-thymocyte Globulin Rabbit

Other Names: Thymoglobulin

About this drug

Anti-thymocyte globulin rabbit is used to treat aplastic anemia and is used in the transplant setting. It is given in the vein (IV). 

Possible Side Effects

  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Feeling nervous or worried (anxiety)
  • Weakness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Infection
  • Nausea
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet
  • Increased potassium in your blood
  • Decrease in the number of white blood cells. This may raise your risk of infection
  • Decrease in the number of platelets. This may raise your risk of bleeding

Note: Not all possible side effects are included above

Warnings and Precautions

  • Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis are rare but may happen in some patients, which can be life-threatening. Signs of allergic reaction to this drug may be swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way. If this happens, do not take another dose of this drug. You should get urgent medical treatment.
  • This drug may raise your risk of getting a second cancer, such as lymphoma 
  • Severe infections, including viral, bacterial, and fungal, which can be life-threatening
  • Injection site reaction - you may get a rash, swelling or bruising or your skin may get red, warm, itchy, or painful at the site of your infusion or injection
  • Cytokine release syndrome (CRS): Some types of cancer drugs can cause CRS because of the effects of the drug in your body. If this happens you may feel very sick and get a fever, headache, nausea, or feel weak. You may also have changes to your blood pressure. Because of this, your blood pressure and pulse will be checked while you are getting this drug. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms while you are getting this drug and for the first 24 hours after getting this drug: fever, chills, or shaking chills, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, have a headache and/or have nausea or throwing up.

Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team. 

Important Information

  • Talk to your doctor before receiving any vaccinations during your treatment. Some vaccinations are not recommended while receiving anti-thymocyte globulin rabbit.

Treating side effects

  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • To help with nausea, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help stop or lessen these symptoms.
  • If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid). 
  • If you have diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping. 
  • Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea. 
  • To decreasing bleeding, use a soft toothbrush. Check with your nurse before using dental floss. 
  • Be very careful when using knives or tools. 
  • Use an electric shaver instead of a razor.
  • To decrease infection, wash your hands regularly.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have a cold, the flu, or other infections.
  • Take your temperature as your doctor or nurse tells you, and whenever you feel like you may have a fever.
  • Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
  • If you are feeling anxious, talk to your nurse or doctor about it and they may be able to offer you some stress-relief techniques and/or support groups that may help relieve your anxiety.
  • Cytokine release syndrome may happen for 24 hours after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
  • While you are getting this drug, please tell your nurse right away if you get a rash, swelling or bruising, or your skin gets red, warm, itchy, or painful at the site of your infusion or injection.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of anti-thymocyte globulin rabbit with food.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist about all other prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) you are taking before starting this medicine as there are known drug interactions with anti-thymocyte globulin rabbit. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions. 

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Headache that does not go away
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines 
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Pain that does not go away, or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Signs of allergic reaction: swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way
  • Signs of cytokine release syndrome such as: fever, chills, or shaking chills, feeling dizzy, or lightheaded, have a headache and/or have nausea or throwing up. 
  • If you think you may be pregnant

Reproduction Warnings

  • Pregnancy warning: It is not known if this drug may harm an unborn child. For this reason, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while receiving this drug. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant. 
  • Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should not breastfeed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding baby. 
  • Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking. 

Revised June 2018

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2018. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have.

CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.