|Trade names||Imogam Rabies-HT, others|
Rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) is a medication made up of antibodies against the rabies virus. It is used to prevent rabies following exposure. It is given after the wound is cleaned with soap and water or providone-iodine and is followed by a course of rabies vaccine. It is given by injection into the site of the wound and into a muscle. It is not needed in people who have been previously vaccinated against rabies.
Common side effects include pain at the site of injection, fever, and headache. Severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis may rarely occur. Use during pregnancy is not known to harm the baby. It works by binding to the rabies virus before it can enter nerve tissue. After the virus has entered the central nervous system, rabies immunoglobulin is no longer useful.
The use of rabies immunoglobulin in the form of blood serum dates from 1891. Use become common within medicine in the 1950s. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. Rabies immunoglobulin is expensive and hard to come by in the developing world. In the United States it is estimated to be more than 1,000.00 USD per dose. It is made from the blood plasma of people or horses who have high levels of the antibody in their blood. The horse version is less expensive but has a higher rate of side effects.
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