Anti-thymocyte Globulin (ATG) (Generic Name)
Other Names: Thymoglobulin
About this drug
ATG is a special antibody that is used to treat aplastic anemia and graft-versus-host disease in patients having a stem cell transplant. It is given intravenously (IV).
Possible side effects
Serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis can occur. Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms of anaphylaxis during the time you are receiving this drug:
- Difficulty catching your breath or wheezing feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling
- Feeling your heart beat rapidly (palpitations)
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Flushing, itching, rash, hives
- Chest pain
Other side effects may include:
- Fever and chills within a few hours after the first dose are common
- Bone marrow depression; This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It may increase your risk for infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms about a week after the first dose, lasting for several weeks. You may have a rash, joint pain, muscle aches, and feel tired.
- Blood clots (rare); A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear red and warm, and/or cause pain. A blood clot in your lungs may cause shortness of breath, pain when breathing, and/or chest pain.
- Phlebitis (vein inflammation); If this drug is given through a vein in your arm, the vein and skin area surrounding the vein may become painful, swollen, warm, or red.
- Long-term effects; There is a small risk that you may develop a second cancer.
- Effects on an unborn child; It is not known if this drug may have harmful effects on an unborn child. For this reason, be sure to speak with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while receiving this drug.
- Breastfeeding; It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women are advised to discuss the risks and benefits of breastfeeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breastfeeding infant.
Treating side effects
- Ask your doctor or nurse about medication that is available to help prevent or lessen fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
- Do not put anything on a rash unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry.
Food and drug interactions
There are no known interactions of anti-thymocyte globulin with food. This drug may interact with other medication. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medication and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor’s advice.
When to call the doctor
Notify your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Temperature of 100.5 F (38.0 C) or above
- Chest pain, chest tightness
- Trouble breathing or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in your chest when taking a breath
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Vomiting more than 3 times in one day
- Diarrhea of 5 or 6 stools in 1 day or diarrhea with weakness
Notify your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Black or tarry stools
- Cramping or pain in leg; swelling or redness and warmth of leg
- Nausea or vomiting which prevents you from drinking plenty of fluids
- Headache, joint or muscle pain that is unrelieved by prescribed medications
- Rash that is bothersome
- IV site (the vein and skin area surrounding the vein used) is painful, swollen, warm, or red
- Extreme tiredness that interferes with normal activities