Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin

is given to prevent or reduce the severity of varicella (chicken pox) in people who have been exposed to the virus. Varizig works best if given within 96 hours of varicella exposure.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin Overview

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Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin is a prescription medication used to prevent or reduce the severity of varicella zoster virus (chickenpox) in high-risk patients who have been exposed to the virus.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin belongs to a group of drugs called immune globulins, which are made from human blood plasma and contain high levels of antibodies that can fight against varicella zoster virus.

This medication comes in injectable form to be given directly into the muscle (IM) in the upper arm or thigh by a healthcare professional. It is usually given as a one-time dose, but an additional dose may be needed in certain circumstances.

Common side effects include pain at the injection site, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

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Uses of Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin is a prescription medication used to prevent or reduce the severity of varicella zoster virus (chickenpox) in high-risk patients who have been exposed to the virus. High risk patients include:

  • children and adults with compromised immune systems
  • newborns of mothers who were infected with varicella
  • premature infants
  • infants less than 1 years old
  • pregnant women
  • adults who do not have evidence of immunity to varicella

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin Brand Names

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin Drug Class

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin

Serious side effects have been reported with Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin. See the "Drug Precautions" section.

Common side effects include the following:

  • injection site pain
  • fever
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headache
  • rash
  • tiredness
  • chills

This is not a complete list of side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

 

 

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin can make certain vaccines not work as well, including measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), live attenuated influenza (flu nasal spray) yellow fever, rotavirus, and oral polio vaccines. You should not receive any of these live vaccines until around 3 months after you receive Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin. Tell your doctor who is recommending vaccination that you have recently received Varizig so that appropriate measures can be taken until you are able to be vaccinated again.

This is not a complete list of drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin including the following:

Thrombotic Events. Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin can increase your risk for developing blood clots, especially if you have a history of atherosclerosis (a disease where plaque builds up in your arteries), heart problems, or a disorder in which your body ability to control blood clotting is impaired. 

Hypersensitivity. Severe allergic reactions can occur with Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin. Tell your healthcare provider about any signs or symptoms of hypersensitivity, which include the following:

  • chest pain
  • swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, arms, or legs
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • rash

Transmissible Infectious Agents. Since Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin is made from human plasma, it may contain infectious agents that could cause disease. Certain measures are taken to reduce this risk, but the possbility still exists that Varizig can transmit disease.

You should not receive Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin if you:

  • are allergic to Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin or to any of its ingredients
  • have had an allergic reaction to another human immune globulin preparation
  • have an IgA-deficiency

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of this medication, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before receiving this medication, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin or to any of its ingredients
  • have ever had an allergic reaction to any other immune globulin preparations
  • have an immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency
  • have heart problems
  • have any other medical conditions
  • are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin falls into category C. No studies have been done in animals, and no well-controlled studies have been done in pregnant women. Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It is not known if this medication crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of receiving this medication.

 

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin Usage

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin comes in injectable form to be given directly into a muscle (IM) in the upper arm or upper thigh by a healthcare professional. Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin is given as a one-time single dose. This dose may need to be repeated in certain patients who are exposed to the varicella virus again within 3 weeks of receiving the first dose of this medication. 

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin works best if it is given within 96 hours of being exposed to the varicella virus.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin Dosage

The dose of Varizig (Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin) your doctor recommends will be based on your weight. The minimum dose for infants who weight less than 2 kilograms is 62.5 International Units (IU). The maximum dose, which should be given to all patients who weigh more than 40 kilograms, is 625 International Units (IU).

Depending on your dose and size, you may receive the dose in 2 or more injection sites.

Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin Overdose

If Varicella/zoster Immunoglobulin is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.