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What Is Imiglucerase?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Imiglucerase is an injectible medication that is prescribed to treat a medical condition known as Gaucher's disease. This drug is administered in the form of an intravenous infusion and is designed to replace a naturally occurring enzyme known as glucocerebrosidase. Some of the most commonly reported side effects of imiglucerase include headaches, stomach upset, and skin irritation at the site of the injection. Rarely, a serious and potentially fatal allergic reaction may develop after using this medication, even if it has been well tolerated in the past. Any questions or concerns about the use of imiglucerase should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Gaucher's disease is a genetic metabolic disorder that causes a deficiency of an enzyme known as glucocerebrosidase. Signs of this disorder may include the enlargement of the spleen or liver, anemia, or improper blood clotting due to a reduction in the number of platelets produced by the body. A variety of skeletal system disorders may also occur among those who suffer from this disease. An infusion of imiglucerase may be prescribed by the supervising physician in an effort to reduce the symptoms associated with Gaucher's disease.

Treatment with imiglucerase typically occurs in a clinical setting such as a hospital or doctor's office. A small catheter known as an IV is inserted into a vein and the medication is slowly introduced into the body. Imiglucerase is often added to a fluid drip and allowed to enter the body over a period of an hour or more. The frequency and dosage of these infusions depends on the age of the patient as well as the severity of the symptoms.

The most common side effect of imiglucerase is redness, swelling, and discomfort at the injection site. These symptoms usually disappear within a few hours of the infusion, but any persistent or worsening symptoms should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation. A mild headache is considered relatively normal, although the development of a sudden or severe headache may indicate the possibility of a serious complication, such as a stroke or aneurysm.

Digestive disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may occur as a result of using imiglucerase. If severe abdominal pain occurs, especially if accompanied by a fever, a doctor should be consulted right away. Allergic reactions to this medication are not a common occurrence, although they can be fatal if not treated immediately. Symptoms such as swelling of the tongue or throat, chest pain, or difficulty breathing should prompt a visit to the nearest hospital.

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