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/rigors
- Tiredness and weakness
- Feeling dizzy
- Ear pain
- 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 vomiting (throwing up)
- Pain in your chest, abdomen, arms or legs
- Diarrhea (loose bowel movements)
- Muscle weakness and/or spasm
- Muscle pain/aching
- Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet heart murmur
- 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. Your side effects may differ depending on the immune globulin formulation. 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). With certain forms of immune globulin, this breakdown of red blood cells can be life-threatening.
- 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.
- Immune globulin may interfere with certain blood tests and some type of blood sugar monitoring systems, which can falsely increase your blood sugar readings. Please talk to your doctor and/or nurse for more information.
Treating Side Effects
- Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
- Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
- If you are dizzy, get up slowly after sitting or lying.
- Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
- Get regular exercise. If you feel too tired to exercise vigorously try taking a short walk.
- 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 1/2 teaspoon of baking
- 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 of 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 stop or 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 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.
- This drug may interact 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.
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 100.4° F (38° C) or higher
- Headache that does not away
- Blurry vision or other changes in eyesight
- Stiff or painful neck
- Feeling very sleepy
- Symptoms of a seizure such as confusion, blacking out, passing out, loss of hearing or vision, blurred vision, unusual smells or tastes (such as burning rubber), trouble talking, tremors or shaking in parts or all of the body, repeated body movements, tense muscles that do not relax, and loss of control of urine and bowels. If you or your family member suspects you are having a seizure, call 911 right away.
- Coughing up yellow, green, or bloody mucus
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
- 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, or it can be constant. 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
- Diarrhea, 4 times in one day or diarrhea 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 medicines
- Tiredness and extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities
- Your leg or arm is swollen, red, warm and/or painful
- Decreased urine or very dark urine
- Abnormally high or low blood sugar - if you are testing your blood sugar at home
- 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. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
- 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 April 2020
This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2019. 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.