RhOD immune globulin products for prevention of alloimmunization during pregnancy

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PurposeThe pharmacologic properties of Rhesus (Rh) immune globulin (RhIG) and clinical data on its effectiveness in preventing Rh-antigen alloimmunization in pregnant women are reviewed.SummaryRhIG is a human plasma derivative that targets red blood cells (RBCs) positive for RhO antigen (also called D antigen). In the United States and other countries, the widespread use of RhIG has markedly reduced the occurrence of hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN), a devastating condition caused by D-antigen sensitization of a pregnant woman via exposure to fetal RBCs (usually during detachment of the placenta in labor) that results in a maternal immune response leading to severe hemolysis in the fetus. Routine administration of RhIG at 26–30 weeks' gestation and again within 72 hours of delivery has been shown to be highly effective in preventing maternal Rh alloimmunization, with very low rates of D-antigen sensitization (in the range of 0–2.2%) reported in multiple studies of at-risk women. The four RhIG products currently available in the United States have common clinical indications but differ in certain attributes. Pharmacists can play an important role in guiding other clinicians on the rationale for the use of RhIG, important differences between products, and appropriate timing of RhIG therapy.ConclusionRoutine administration of RhIG to women at risk for Rh alloimmunization is clinically effective and has made HDFN a rare clinical event. The available RhIG products are not the same and should be carefully reviewed to ensure that they are administered safely.

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