Medicine:Diphtheria antitoxin

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Short description: Treatment for diphtheria
Diphtheria antitoxin
Diphtheria antitoxin 1925 (cropped).jpg
Vial of 10,000 units, circa 1925.
Clinical data
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Diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) is a medication made up of antibodies used in the treatment of diphtheria.[1][2] It is no longer recommended for prevention of diphtheria.[2][3] It is given by injection into a vein or muscle.[2]

Side effects are common.[3] They include serum sickness and allergic reactions including anaphylaxis.[2] Diphtheria antitoxin is made from the blood plasma of horses that have been immunized against diphtheria toxin.[1] It works by neutralizing the toxins produced by Corynebacterium diphtheriae.[1]

Diphtheria antitoxin was developed and came into medical use in the late 1800s.[4] It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.[5][6] In the United States it can be obtained from the Center for Disease Control.[1] It is not available in many countries including many in Europe as of 2008.[7]


One of the first bottles of Diphtheria antitoxin produced by the Hygienic Laboratory (predecessor of the NIH), c. 1895

It is a solution of concentrated proteins, chiefly globulins, containing antibodies obtained from the blood of horses that have been immunized against diphtheria toxin.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Our Formulary | Infectious Diseases Laboratories | CDC". 22 September 2016. Archived from the original on 16 December 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 WHO Model Formulary 2008. World Health Organization. 2009. p. 397. ISBN 9789241547659. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 British national formulary : BNF 69 (69 ed.). British Medical Association. 2015. p. 850. ISBN 9780857111562. 
  4. Hau, Jann; Schapiro, Steven J.; Jr, Gerald L. Van Hoosier (2004) (in en). Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science, Second Edition: Animal Models. CRC Press. p. 6. ISBN 9781420039627. 
  5. World Health Organization model list of essential medicines: 21st list 2019. Geneva: World Health Organization. 2019. WHO/MVP/EMP/IAU/2019.06. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. 
  6. World Health Organization model list of essential medicines: 22nd list (2021). Geneva: World Health Organization. 2021. WHO/MHP/HPS/EML/2021.02. 
  7. Wagner, KS; Stickings, P; White, JM; Neal, S; Crowcroft, NS; Sesardic, D; Efstratiou, A (10 December 2009). "A review of the international issues surrounding the availability and demand for diphtheria antitoxin for therapeutic use.". Vaccine 28 (1): 14–20. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.09.094. PMID 19818425. 

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