Rabies immunoglobulin

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Rabies immunoglobulin
Clinical data
Trade namesImogam Rabies-HT, others
  • US: C (Risk not ruled out)
ATC code
  • none

Rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) is a medication made up of antibodies against the rabies virus.[1] It is used to prevent rabies following exposure.[1] It is given after the wound is cleaned with soap and water or povidone-iodine and is followed by a course of rabies vaccine.[1] It is given by injection into the site of the wound and into a muscle.[1] It is not needed in people who have been previously vaccinated against rabies.[2]

Common side effects include pain at the site of injection, fever, and headache.[1] Severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis may rarely occur.[3] Use during pregnancy is not known to harm the baby.[1] It works by binding to the rabies virus before it can enter nerve tissue.[1] After the virus has entered the central nervous system, rabies immunoglobulin is no longer useful.[1]

The use of rabies immunoglobulin in the form of blood serum dates from 1891.[4] Use become common within medicine in the 1950s.[5] It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.[6] Rabies immunoglobulin is expensive and hard to come by in the developing world.[7] In the United States it is estimated to be more than 1,000.00 USD per dose.[8] It is made from the blood plasma of people or horses who have high levels of the antibody in their blood.[1][8] The horse version is less expensive but has a higher rate of side effects.[8][5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Rabies Immune Globulin". The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  2. ^ WHO Model Formulary 2008 (PDF). World Health Organization. 2009. p. 398. ISBN 9789241547659. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  3. ^ British national formulary : BNF 69 (69 ed.). British Medical Association. 2015. p. 869. ISBN 9780857111562.
  4. ^ Plotkin, [edited by] Stanley A.; Orenstein,, Walter A.; Offit, Paul A. (2013). Vaccines (6th ed.). [Edinburgh]: Elsevier/Saunders. p. 659. ISBN 1455700908. Archived from the original on 2017-01-09.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ a b Jong, Elaine C.; Zuckerman, Jane N. (2004). Travelers' Vaccines. PMPH-USA. p. 205. ISBN 9781550092257. Archived from the original on 2017-01-09.
  6. ^ "WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (19th List)" (PDF). World Health Organization. April 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  7. ^ Tintinalli, Judith E. (2010). Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide (Emergency Medicine (Tintinalli)) (7 ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies. p. 1054. ISBN 0-07-148480-9.
  8. ^ a b c Research Advances in Rabies. Academic Press. 2011. p. 351. ISBN 9780123870414. Archived from the original on 2017-01-09.