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Thymoglobulin (Anti-Thymocyte Globulin (Rabbit)) - Warnings and Precautions



Thymoglobulin® should only be used by physicians experienced in immunosuppressive therapy for the management of renal transplant patients.



Thymoglobulin should only be used by physicians experienced in immunosuppressive therapy for the treatment of renal transplant patients. Medical surveillance is required during Thymoglobulin infusion.

Immune-mediated reactions

Serious immune-mediated reactions have been reported with the use of Thymoglobulin and consist of anaphylaxis or severe cytokine release syndrome (CRS).

Fatal anaphylaxis has been reported. If an anaphylactic reaction occurs, the infusion should be terminated immediately. Medical personnel should be available to treat patients who experience anaphylaxis. Emergency treatment such as 0.3 mL to 0.5 mL aqueous epinephrine (1:1000 dilution) subcutaneously and other resuscitative measures including oxygen, intravenous fluids, antihistamines, corticosteroids, pressor amines, and airway management, as clinically indicated, should be provided. Any further administration of Thymoglobulin to a patient who has a history of anaphylaxis to Thymoglobulin is not recommended.

Severe, acute infusion-associated reactions (IARs) are consistent with CRS which is attributed to the release of cytokines by activated monocytes and lymphocytes. Severe acute CRS can cause serious cardiorespiratory events and/or death (See PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS: Post-Marketing Experience ).


Thymoglobulin is routinely used in combination with other immunosuppressive agents. Infections (bacterial, fungal, viral and protozoal), reactivation of infection (particularly cytomegalovirus [CMV]) and sepsis have been reported after Thymoglobulin administration in combination with multiple immunosuppressive agents. Severe acute reactions can be fatal.



Appropriate dosing for Thymoglobulin is different from dosing for other anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) products, as protein composition and concentrations vary depending on the source of ATG used. Physicians should therefore exercise care to ensure that the dose prescribed is appropriate for the ATG product being administered.

Thymoglobulin should be used under strict medical supervision in a hospital setting, and patients should be carefully monitored during the infusion. The first dose should be infused over a minimum of 6 hours into a high-flow vein. Close compliance with the recommended dosage and infusion time may reduce the incidence and severity of infusion associated reactions (IARs). Additionally, reducing the infusion rate may minimize many of these IARs. Premedication with corticosteroids, acetaminophen, and/or an antihistamine and/or slowing the infusion rate may reduce reaction incidence and intensity (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ).

Rapid infusion rates have been reported with case reports consistent with cytokine release syndrome (CRS). Severe acute CRS can be fatal.

Hematologic Effects

Thrombocytopenia and/or leukopenia (including lymphopenia and neutropenia) have been identified and are reversible following dose adjustments (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ).


Infections, reactivation of infection, and sepsis have been reported after Thymoglobulin administration in combination with multiple immunosuppressive agents. Careful patient monitoring and appropriate anti-infective prophylaxis are recommended.


Use of immunosuppressive agents, including Thymoglobulin, may increase the incidence of malignancies, including lymphoma or post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) (See ADVERSE REACTIONS: Post-Marketing Experience ).

Special Considerations for Thymoglobulin Infusion

Reactions at the infusion site can occur and may include pain, swelling, and erythema.

The recommended route of administration for Thymoglobulin is intravenous infusion using a high-flow vein (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ).


The safety of immunization with attenuated live vaccines following Thymoglobulin therapy has not been studied; therefore, immunization with attenuated live vaccines is not recommended for patients who have recently received Thymoglobulin.

Laboratory Tests

During Thymoglobulin therapy, monitoring the lymphocyte count (i.e., total lymphocyte and/or T-cell subset) may help assess the degree of T-cell depletion (See Pharmacokinetics and Immunogenicity ). For safety, WBC and platelet counts should also be monitored (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ).

Drug Interactions

  • No drug interaction studies have been performed.
  • Because Thymoglobulin is administered to patients receiving a standard immunosuppressive regimen, this may predispose patients to overimmunosuppression. Many transplant centers decrease maintenance immunosuppression therapy during the period of antibody therapy.
  • Thymoglobulin can stimulate the production of antibodies which crossreact with rabbit immune globulins (See Pharmacokinetics and Immunogenicity ).

Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions

Thymoglobulin has not been shown to interfere with any routine clinical laboratory tests which do not use immunoglobulins. Thymoglobulin may interfere with rabbit antibody-based immunoassays and with cross-match or panel-reactive antibody cytotoxicity assays.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

The carcinogenic and mutagenic potential of Thymoglobulin and its potential to impair fertility have not been studied.

Pregnancy: Pregnancy Category C

Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Thymoglobulin. It is also not known whether Thymoglobulin can cause fetal harm or can affect reproduction capacity. Thymoglobulin should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

Nursing Mothers

Thymoglobulin has not been studied in nursing women. It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because other immunoglobulins are excreted in human milk, breast-feeding should be discontinued during Thymoglobulin therapy.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of Thymoglobulin in pediatric patients has not been established in controlled trials. However, the dose, efficacy, and adverse event profile are not thought to be different from adults based on limited European studies and US compassionate use.

Page last updated: 2008-11-10

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