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Diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) is a medication made up of antibodies used in the treatment of diphtheria. It is no longer recommended for prevention of diphtheria. It is given by injection into a vein or muscle.
Side effects are common. They include serum sickness and allergic reactions including anaphylaxis. Diphtheria antitoxin is made from the blood plasma of horses that have been immunized against diphtheria toxin. It works by neutralizing the toxins produced by Corynebacterium diphtheriae.
Diphtheria antitoxin was developed and came into medical use in the late 1800s. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines. In the United States it can be obtained from the Center for Disease Control. It is not available in many countries including many in Europe as of 2008.
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