Immunoglobulin (IG) for Hepatitis A
This drug is given by injection into a muscle (intramuscular injection).
How It Works
Immunoglobulin (IG) contains antibodies that destroy the hepatitis A virus (HAV), preventing infection.
Why It Is Used
IG should be given to unvaccinated people at risk of infection with HAV, including:
How Well It Works
If given within 2 weeks of exposure to the virus, immunoglobulin (IG) is more than 85% effective in preventing hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection.1
Immunoglobulin has been effective in controlling some outbreaks of HAV.
Common side effects include:
In rare cases, a life-threatening allergic reaction may occur. This is more likely if IG is accidentally injected into an artery or vein.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Immunoglobulin (IG) is a safe, inexpensive, and effective means of preventing the spread of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection.
The sooner you get a shot of IG after being exposed to HAV, the greater the likelihood that infection will be prevented.
IG is safe for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
IG protection is only temporary, lasting about 3 months. If you are planning to stay longer than 3 months in an area where hepatitis A is a problem, you should receive a higher initial dose of IG, or you should get the hepatitis A vaccine (unless you are allergic to the vaccine). You should receive the same higher dose of IG every 3 to 5 months while you are still at risk.
IG is prepared from blood products obtained from paid donors. In the United States, no cases of transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) through IG have been reported. The safety of IG prepared in countries other than the U.S. cannot be guaranteed.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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