CroFab: Package Insert and Label Information

CROFAB- crotalus atrox immune fab antivenin (ovine), agkistrodon piscivorus immune fab antivenin (ovine), crotalus scutulatus immune fab antivenin (ovine) and crotalus adamanteus immune fab antivenin (ovine) injection, powder, lyophilized, for solution
BTG International Inc.


CROFAB is indicated for the management of adult and pediatric patients with North American crotalid envenomation. The term crotalid is used to describe the Crotalinae subfamily (formerly known as Crotalidae) of venomous snakes which includes rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths/water moccasins.


For intravenous use only

2.1 Dose

  • Administer CROFAB as soon as possible in patients who develop any signs of envenomation (e.g., local injury, coagulation abnormality or systemic signs of envenomation) to prevent clinical deterioration. CROFAB was shown in clinical studies to be effective when given within 6 hours of snakebite.
  • Antivenin dosage requirements are contingent upon an individual patient’s response. Based on clinical experience with CROFAB, the recommended initial dose is 4 to 6 vials; however, the starting dose may vary from a minimum of 4 vials to a maximum of 12 vials based on clinical judgment and severity of envenomation [3].
  • Observe the patient for up to 1 hour following completion of the first dose to determine if initial control of envenomation has been achieved. Initial control is achieved when local signs of envenomation are arrested (leading edge of local injury is not progressing), systemic symptoms are resolved and coagulation parameters have normalized or are trending toward normal. If initial control is not achieved by the first dose, an additional dose of 4 to 6 vials should be administered repeatedly until initial control of the envenomation syndrome has been achieved.
  • Once initial control has been achieved, additional 2-vial doses of CROFAB every 6 hours for up to 18 hours (3 doses) are recommended. Optimal dosing following the 18-hour scheduled dose of CROFAB has not been determined. Additional 2-vial doses may be administered as deemed necessary by the treating physician, based on the patient’s clinical course.
  • Infusion reactions, such as fever, low back pain, wheezing and nausea, may be related to the rate of infusion and can be controlled by decreasing the rate of administration of the solution [12]. Poison control centers are a helpful resource for individual treatment advice.

2.2 Preparation and Administration

  • Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit.

  • Reconstitute each vial of CROFAB with 18 mL of 0.9% Sodium Chloride (diluent not included) and mix by continuous manual inversion at the rate of one to two inversions per second until no solid material is visible in the vial (the fully reconstituted product will still be opalescent). Do not shake as this can cause foaming. Further dilute the contents of all of the reconstituted vials to a total volume of 250 mL with 0.9% Sodium Chloride and mix by gently swirling.

  • Use the reconstituted and diluted product within 4 hours.

  • Infuse the dose intravenously over 60 minutes. However, the infusion should proceed slowly over the first 10 minutes at a 25- 50 mL/hour rate with careful observation for any allergic reaction. If no such reaction occurs, the infusion rate may be increased to the full 250 mL/hour rate until completion. Close patient monitoring is necessary.


CROFAB is available as a sterile, nonpyrogenic, purified, lyophilized powder. Each vial contains up to 1 gram of total protein and not less than the indicated number of mouse LD50 neutralizing units*:

* As of 2008, the potency assay has been optimized for a new strain of mice, which has resulted in changes to the minimum mouse LD50 neutralizing units. These changes do not reflect any change in product potency, but only a different biological response of the mouse strain to the venom.
Snake Species Used for Antivenin Component Minimum mouse LD50 Units per vial
C. atrox (Western Diamondback rattlesnake) 1270
C. adamanteus (Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake) 420
C. scutulatus (Mojave rattlesnake) 5570
A. piscivorus (Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin) 780


Do not administer CROFAB to patients with a known history of hypersensitivity to papaya or papain unless the benefits outweigh the risks and appropriate management for anaphylactic reactions is readily available.


5.1 Coagulopathy

Coagulopathy is a complication noted in many victims of crotalid envenomation that arises due to the ability of the snake venom to interfere with the blood coagulation cascad [5, 9, 10], and is seen more frequently in severely envenomated patients.

In clinical trials with CROFAB, recurrent coagulopathy (the return of a coagulation abnormality after it has been successfully treated with antivenin), characterized by decreased fibrinogen, decreased platelets and elevated prothrombin time, occurred in approximately half of patients studied. The clinical significance of these recurrent abnormalities is not known; however, one systematic review of the literature showed that medically significant bleeding following treatment of Crotaline snake envenomation is uncommon, occurring with an estimated frequency of 0.5% [13]. Recurrent coagulation abnormalities were observed only in patients who experienced coagulation abnormalities during their initial hospitalization, although coagulopathy can initially appear at any time before, during or after treatment. Optimal dosing to completely prevent recurrent coagulopathy has not been determined. Because CROFAB has a shorter persistence in the blood than the snake venoms that can leak from depot sites over a prolonged period of time, repeat dosing to prevent or treat such recurrence may be necessary [see Dosage and Administration (2)].

Recurrent coagulopathy may persist for 1 to 2 weeks or more. Patients who experience coagulopathy due to snakebite during hospitalization for initial treatment should be monitored for signs and symptoms of recurrent coagulopathy for up to 1 week or longer at the physician’s discretion. During this period, the physician should carefully assess the need for re-treatment with CROFAB and use of any type of anticoagulant or anti-platelet drug.

Because snake envenomation can cause coagulation abnormalities, the following conditions, which are also associated with coagulation defects, should be considered: cancer, collagen disease, congestive heart failure, diarrhea, elevated temperature, hepatic disorders, hyperthyroidism, poor nutritional state, steatorrhea, vitamin K deficiency.

5.2 Hypersensitivity Reactions

Severe hypersensitivity reactions may occur with CROFAB. In case of acute hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis and anaphylactoid reactions, discontinue infusion and institute appropriate emergency treatment.

CROFAB contains purified immunoglobulin fragments from the blood of sheep that have been immunized with snake venoms [see Description (11)]. Injection of heterologous animal proteins can cause severe acute and delayed hypersensitivity reactions (late serum reaction or serum sickness) and a possible febrile response to immune complexes formed by animal antibodies and neutralized venom components [11].

Papain is used to cleave antibodies into fragments during the processing of CROFAB, and trace amounts of papain or inactivated papain residues may be present. Patients allergic to papain, chymopapain, other papaya extracts, or the pineapple enzyme bromelain may also have an allergic reaction to CROFAB. Some dust mite allergens and some latex allergens share antigenic structures with papain and patients with these allergies may be allergic to papain [7, 8].

Use the following precautions to manage hypersensitivity reactions:

  • Emergency medical care (e.g., epinephrine, intravenous antihistamines and/or albuterol) should be readily available.
  • Carefully monitor patients for signs and symptoms of an acute allergic reaction (e.g., urticaria, pruritus, erythema, angioedema, bronchospasm with wheezing or cough, stridor, laryngeal edema, hypotension, tachycardia).
  • Follow-up all patients for signs and symptoms of delayed allergic reactions or serum sickness (e.g., rash, fever, myalgia, arthralgia).

Patients who receive a course of treatment with a foreign protein such as CROFAB may become sensitized to it. Therefore, caution should be used when administering a repeat course of treatment with CROFAB for a subsequent envenomation episode.

Skin testing has not been used in clinical trials of CROFAB and is not required.


Most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥5% of subjects) were urticaria, rash, nausea, pruritus and back pain.

The following clinically significant adverse reactions are described elsewhere in the labeling:

  • Hypersensitivity Reactions [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.

The safety of CROFAB was evaluated in 289 patients who received CROFAB for crotalid envenomation. Forty-two patients were from two prospective clinical trials in patients who experienced mild to moderate crotalid envenomation; 247 patients were from a retrospective study in patients who experienced mild, moderate or severe envenomation. There also were safety information extracted from literature review of publications on CROFAB that contained patient exposure data.

Premarketing Prospective Clinical Trials

A total 42 patients received CROFAB for treatment of mild to moderate crotalid envenomation in two clinical studies. The patients were aged 11 to 76 years, and 34 were male and 8 were female. Nineteen patients experienced an adverse reaction for a total of 26 adverse reactions. Adverse reactions involving the skin and appendages (primarily rash, urticaria, and pruritus) were reported in 12 of the 42 patients (see Table 1). One patient discontinued CROFAB therapy due to an allergic reaction.

Of the 19 patients who experienced adverse reactions, 3 patients experienced severe or serious adverse reactions.

  • 1 patient who experienced a serious adverse reaction had recurrent coagulopathy due to envenomation, which required re-hospitalization and additional antivenin administration. This patient eventually made a complete recovery.
  • 2 patients had severe adverse reactions that consisted of 1 patient who developed severe urticaria following treatment and 1 patient who developed a severe rash and pruritus several days following treatment. Both patients recovered following treatment with antihistamines and prednisone.
Table 1 Incidence of Adverse Reactions by Body System in Premarketing Clinical Trials
Allergic reaction consisted of urticaria, dyspnea and wheezing in 1 patient.
Adverse Reaction n=42Number of Reactions
Body as a Whole
Back pain 2
Allergic reaction† 1
Serum sickness 1
Skin and Appendages
Urticaria 7
Rash 3
Pruritus 2
Subcutaneous nodule 1
Respiratory System
Cough 1
Digestive System
Nausea 3
Anorexia 1
Coagulation disorder 1
Ecchymosis 1
Myalgia 1
Nervous System
Nervousness 1

Six of 42 patients experienced an adverse reaction associated with an early serum reaction and 4 experienced an adverse reaction associated with a late serum reaction. Two additional patients were considered to have experienced a late serum reaction by the investigator, although no associated adverse reaction was reported. Serum reactions are defined as reactions associated with CROFAB infusion. They consisted mainly of urticaria and rash, and all patients recovered without sequelae. Table 2 lists the incidence of early and late serum reactions. There were 7 events classified as early serum reactions and 5 events classified as late serum reactions; none was serious.

Table 2 Incidence of Early and Late Serum Reactions in Premarketing Clinical Trials
** Allergic reaction consisted of urticaria, dyspnea and wheezing in 1 patient.
Serum sickness consisted of severe rash and pruritus in 1 patient.
n=42Number of Events
Early Serum Reactions
Urticaria 5
Cough 1
Allergic reaction** 1
Late Serum Reactions
Rash 2
Pruritus 1
Urticaria 1
Serum sickness 1

Postmarketing Retrospective Study

This was a retrospective study of data collected from postmarketing use of CROFAB to compare treatment and outcome characteristics between patients with severe envenomation to those with mild to moderate envenomation. A total of 247 patients received CROFAB for treatment of mild, moderate or severe crotalid envenomation. The patients were aged 1 to 91 years, and 206 were male and 41 were female. Of the 247 patients, 209 were classified as mild/moderate (n=181) or severe (n=28), while 38 patients did not have enough data to calculate an initial severity score.

There were a total of 36 immediate adverse drug reactions reported in 15 patients (6.1%, n = 247).

  • There were 11 immediate serious adverse events related to CROFAB administration reported in four patients. The events included two episodes each of hypotension and tongue swelling, and one episode each of chest discomfort, angioedema, bronchospasm, wheezing, tracheal edema, dyspnea, and lip swelling.
  • There were 22 immediate non-serious adverse events related to CROFAB administration reported in 12 patients. The events included four episodes each of rash and pruritus, three episodes of urticaria and one episode each of tachycardia, tachypnea, erythema, swelling, hyperhidrosis, dizziness, headache, musculoskeletal chest pain, chills, feeling cold and nervousness.

Delayed hypersensitivity reactions were reported for two patients. In one patient, symptoms described as hives, itching and epigastric pressure occurred 6 days post-dosing and were not serious. In the second patient, symptoms were not described in the medical records and therefore were not captured in this study.

Recurrent coagulopathy developed in 5 severely envenomated patients and in 6 mild/moderate envenomated patients. In addition, 7 mild/moderate patients experienced delayed-onset coagulopathy. One severely envenomated patient with recurrent coagulopathy experienced medically significant bleeding.

Additional Published Clinical Studies Experience

From a literature review of nine publications on CROFAB that contained patient exposure data, 15 of 313 (4.8%) patients receiving CROFAB experienced acute hypersensitivity reactions. The most common signs and symptoms associated with these reactions were rash (10 patients) and wheezing (3 patients). Most reactions were mild, resolved after antihistamine therapy, and did not require discontinuation of antivenom therapy. No patient developed a life-threatening hypersensitivity reaction, required intubation, suffered lasting ill-effect or died as a result of CROFAB administration.

Follow up data (minimum of six days after treatment) were available in 94 of the 313 patients. Delayed hypersensitivity reactions were reported in 10 cases. The most common signs and symptoms of delayed hypersensitivity were rash (9 patients) and fever (3 patients). Most were mild and treated with antihistamines and steroids.

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