What is Atgam&Reg;?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Atgam® is a prescription drug commonly used in treating kidney transplant patients. This medication works to suppress a patient’s immune system and prevent it from rejecting a donated kidney. A doctor may prescribe Atgam® by itself or with a combination of drugs for the purpose of suppressing organ rejection. Additionally, it may be prescribed for the treatment of patients who have a condition called aplastic anemia, which is a type of blood disorder.

Atgam® suppresses a patient's immune system to reduce the chance of a body rejecting a donated kidney.
Atgam® suppresses a patient's immune system to reduce the chance of a body rejecting a donated kidney.

There are different types of immunosuppressants that may be used in treating a patient who has undergone a kidney transplant. Atgam® is in the category of immunosuppressants that are lymphocyte-selective. This means they work by impairing blood cells referred to as T lymphocytes. These cells are part of a patient’s immune system and could ordinarily contribute to the rejection of a patient’s new kidney by attacking what the cells perceive to be a foreign invader.

Patients do not usually have to worry about taking Atgam® on their own. A doctor or other medical care professional usually injects this medication while the patient is in a hospital or health care clinic. A medical professional may also administer it in a doctor’s office.

When a doctor administers Atgam®, there is a slight risk to the patient’s health. This is because the medication is made with a substance called Albumin, which is a blood product. As such, it is possible that a person could contract a viral illness because of the drug. Fortunately, however, this is rare. Theoretically, a person could also contract a disease referred to as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is a degenerative disorder that affects the brain, from these injections.

Unfortunately, there are some side effects that a person who takes Atgam® is likely to develop. This drug may cause dizziness and nausea, for example. A person who takes this medication may also deal with such side effects as skin rashes and itchiness, fever, and chills. In some cases, a person may also develop problems with blood clotting. One of the most serious side effects of this drug, however, is the lowering of a person’s white blood cell count, which may make him more likely to develop infections.

Sometimes people who take Atgam® also experience discomfort as a result of the effects of the drug. For example, a person who takes Atgam® may have aches and pains that affect his joints. Some people also experience pain in the chest or back. An individual may also experience pain at the site of the injection as well.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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