Immune Globulin (Gammagard, Gammaplex®, Gamunex®-C)
About This Drug
Immune globulin is made up of antibodies called immunoglobulins. It is used to prevent or reduce the severity of infections in people with a weakened immune system. Also, it can be used to increase platelets in people with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), and to treat some neuromuscular diseases. It is given in the vein (IV) and/or as an injection under the skin (subcutaneously).
Possible Side Effects
- Fever, chills
- Ear pain
- Pain in your chest
- Inflammation of the nasal passages and throat
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
- Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
- Pain in your abdomen
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
- Muscle weakness and/or spasm
- Muscle pain/aching
- Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet Heart murmur
- Pain in your arms or legs
- Dehydration (lack of water in the body from losing too much fluid)
- High blood pressure
- 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
Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 5% or greater of patients treated with immune globulin. Not all possible side effects are included above.
Warnings and Precautions
- Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis are rare but may happen in some patients. 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.
- Increased protein in your blood and electrolyte changes
- Risk of meningitis. Signs of meningitis may be a severe headache, a stiff and painful neck, fever, vomiting, feeling very sleepy and/or seizures.
- Breakdown of your red blood cells, which can cause anemia (decreased red blood cells)
- Inflammation (swelling) of the lungs. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
- Blood clots and events such as stroke and heart attack. A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear red and warm, and/or cause pain. A blood clot in your lungs may cause trouble breathing, pain when breathing, and/or chest pain.
- Changes in your kidney function, which can cause kidney failure
- Immune globulin is made from human plasma and carries a very rare risk of transmitting infectious diseases.
Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team.
- Talk to your doctor before receiving any vaccinations during your treatment. Some vaccinations are not recommended while receiving immune globulin.
Treating Side Effects
- Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
- Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
- Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of routine, gentle cleaning of your teeth or dentures and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water or ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after each meal and at bedtime.
- If you have mouth sores, avoid mouthwash that has alcohol. Also avoid alcohol and smoking because they can bother your mouth and throat.
- 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).
- To help with nausea and vomiting, 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 or stop lessen these symptoms.
- 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.
- If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are no known interactions of immune globulin with food.
- There are no known interactions of immune globulin with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. 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.
- The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help.
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 higher
- Headache that does not away
- Blurry vision or other changes in eyesight
- Stiff or painful neck
- Feeling very sleepy
- You cough up yellow, green, or bloody mucus.
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. The pain may go away and come back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes pain is felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. If any of these symptoms last 2 minutes, call 911.
- Pain in your mouth or throat that makes it hard to eat or drink
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
- A new rash or a rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Pain that does not go away, or is not relieved by prescribed medicine
- Extreme weakness that interferes with normal
- Your leg or arm is swollen, red, warm and/or painful
- 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
- 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
- Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, mostly on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden, bad headache with no known cause. If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
- If you think you may be pregnant
- 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.
- Breastfeeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may 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 July 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.