Diphtheria antitoxin

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Diphtheria antitoxin
Diphtheria antitoxin 1925 (cropped).jpg
Vial of 10,000 units, circa 1925.
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Diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) is a medication made up of antibodies used in the treatment of diphtheria.[1][2] It is no longer recommended for prevention of diphtheria.[2][3] It is given by injection into a vein or muscle.[2]

Side effects are common.[3] They include serum sickness and allergic reactions including anaphylaxis.[2] Diphtheria antitoxin is made from the blood plasma of horses that have been immunized against diphtheria toxin.[1] It works by neutralizing the toxins produced by Corynebacterium diphtheriae.[1]

Diphtheria antitoxin was developed and came into medical use in the late 1800s.[4] It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.[5] In the United States it can be obtained from the Center for Disease Control.[1] It is not available in many countries including many in Europe as of 2008.[6]


It is a solution of concentrated proteins, chiefly globulins, containing antibodies obtained from the blood of horses that have been immunized against diphtheria toxin.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Our Formulary | Infectious Diseases Laboratories | CDC". www.cdc.gov. 22 September 2016. Archived from the original on 16 December 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d World Health Organization (2009). Stuart MC, Kouimtzi M, Hill SR (eds.). WHO Model Formulary 2008. World Health Organization. p. 397. hdl:10665/44053. ISBN 9789241547659.
  3. ^ a b British national formulary : BNF 69 (69 ed.). British Medical Association. 2015. p. 850. ISBN 9780857111562.
  4. ^ Hau, Jann; Schapiro, Steven J.; Jr, Gerald L. Van Hoosier (2004). Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science, Second Edition: Animal Models. CRC Press. p. 6. ISBN 9781420039627. Archived from the original on 2017-09-23.
  5. ^ World Health Organization (2019). World Health Organization model list of essential medicines: 21st list 2019. Geneva: World Health Organization. hdl:10665/325771. WHO/MVP/EMP/IAU/2019.06. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
  6. ^ Wagner, KS; Stickings, P; White, JM; Neal, S; Crowcroft, NS; Sesardic, D; Efstratiou, A (10 December 2009). "A review of the international issues surrounding the availability and demand for diphtheria antitoxin for therapeutic use". Vaccine. 28 (1): 14–20. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.09.094. PMID 19818425.

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