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Rh Incompatibility Medication

  • Author: Leon Salem, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Pamela L Dyne, MD  more...
Updated: Feb 07, 2014

Medication Summary

Rh IgG, first released for general use in 1968, has been remarkably successful in the prevention of Rh incompatibility. In the Rh-negative mother, the preparation is administered after a suspected fetomaternal hemorrhage. The exact mechanism by which passive administration of Rh IgG prevents Rh immunization is unknown. The most likely hypothesis is that the Rh immune globulin coats the surface of fetal RBCs containing Rh antigens. These exogenous antibody-antigen complexes cross the placenta before they can stimulate the maternal endogenous immune system B cells to produce IgG antibodies.

Since Rh IgG became the standard of care in the United States, the risk of Rh incompatibility has been reduced from 10-20% to less than 1%. Because of its short half-life, Rh IgG routinely is administered once at 28-32 weeks' gestation and again within 72 hours after birth to all Rh-negative pregnant females as a part of routine prenatal care.

The current recommendation is that every Rh-negative nonimmunized woman who presents to the ED with antepartum bleeding or potential fetomaternal hemorrhage should receive 300 mcg of Rh IgG IM. For every 30 mL of fetal whole blood exposed to maternal circulation, 300 mcg of Rh IgG should be administered. A lower 50-mcg dose preparation of Rh IgG is available and recommended for Rh-negative females who have termination of pregnancy in the first trimester when fetomaternal hemorrhage is believed to be minimal.


Blood derived product

Class Summary

This agent is effective in preventing Rh isoimmunization.

Human anti-D immune globulin (RhoGAM, BayRho-D, Rhophylac, HyperRho)


Suppresses immune response of nonsensitized Rh O (D) negative mothers exposed to Rh O (D) positive blood from the fetus as a result of a fetomaternal hemorrhage, abdominal trauma, amniocentesis, abortion, full-term delivery, or transfusion accident. Should be administered if the patient is Rh negative, unless the father also is Rh negative.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Leon Salem, MD, MS Associate Attending Physician, Kaiser Permanente, Southern California

Leon Salem, MD, MS is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Karen R Singer, PA-C Physician Assistant, Department of Pediatrics, Fountain Valley Medical Center, South Counties Pediatric Critical Care Medical Group, Fountain Valley and Long Beach, California

Karen R Singer, PA-C is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Physician Assistants

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

John G Pierce, Jr, MD Associate Professor, Departments of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Internal Medicine, Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University

John G Pierce, Jr, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Christian Medical and Dental Associations, Medical Society of Virginia, Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Pamela L Dyne, MD Professor of Clinical Medicine/Emergency Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Attending Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Pamela L Dyne, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Assaad J Sayah, MD, FACEP Chief, Department of Emergency Medicine; Senior Vice President, Primary and Emergency Care, Cambridge Health Alliance

Assaad J Sayah, MD, FACEP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, Massachusetts Medical Society, National Association of EMS Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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