What type of antivenom-associated complications may occur in snakebite?

Updated: Apr 09, 2021
  • Author: Spencer Greene, MD, MS, FACEP, FACMT, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

Antivenom-associated complications are rare but may include immediate (anaphylaxis, type I) and delayed (serum sickness, type III) hypersensitivity reactions. Anaphylaxis is an event mediated by IgE, involving degranulation of mast cells that can result in laryngospasm, vasodilatation, and leaky capillaries. Death is common without pharmacological intervention. Serum sickness occurs 1-2 weeks after administering antivenom. Precipitation of antigen-IgG complexes in the skin, joints, and kidneys is responsible for the arthralgias, urticaria, and glomerulonephritis (rarely).


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