FRIDAY, Dec. 21, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Varizig (varicella zoster immune globulin) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to minimize chickenpox symptoms when administered within four days of exposure to the virus that causes the disease.
Varizig was approved for high-risk people, including those with compromised immune systems, newborns, pregnant women, premature infants, children less than a year old and people with no immunity to the virus, the FDA said Friday in a news release.
People who have never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine and who are exposed to the virus may develop a severe infection that can be fatal, the agency noted.
Varizig is produced from the blood plasma of healthy donors with high levels of antibodies to the chicken-pox-causing virus, the FDA said. The donated plasma comes from collection facilities licensed by the FDA.
The drug is meant to be administered in one or more doses, depending on the recipient's weight, within 96 hours of exposure. The most common side effects noted in clinical testing were injection-site pain and headache.
Varizig is produced by Cangene Corp., based in Winnipeg, Canada.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about chickenpox.