Hesperian Health Guides
Medicines to Prevent Tetanus
Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!
Make a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.
Antitetanus immunoglobulin (human)
If a person is not up-to-date with their tetanus vaccination (all 3 injections, and boosters every 10 years), then they should be given antitetanus immunoglobulin as soon as possible after a wound that might cause tetanus. Give antitetanus immunoglobulin before signs of tetanus begin. If the person is getting both the tetanus vaccine and the antitetanus immunoglobulin at the same time, use separate needles and inject in different places on the body.
Do not give live virus vaccines for 3 months after someone has received antitetanus immunoglobulin because it may make the vaccines less effective.
There may be pain and tenderness where the injection was given.
Antitetanus immunoglobulin can cause a severe allergic reaction for some people. Always have epinephrine (adrenaline) available in case of an allergic reaction.
When injecting, put the needle deep in the muscle.
For a wound less than 24 hours old
Inject 250 units one time.
For a wound more than 24 hours old, or a wound that is very likely to be infected with tetanus
Inject 500 units one time.