albumin (human)

By ZLB Behring

What is this medication for?

Albumin belongs to the group of medications known as plasma substitutes. Albumin is made by the liver and is a naturally occurring protein found in plasma (the fluid that carries blood cells). It helps to transport a number of the body's substances (e.g., bilirubin) via the blood by attaching itself to them.

When the albumin concentration in the blood is increased, it helps to increase the volume of the blood in the blood vessels. It does this by helping to draw fluid from the body into the blood vessels. This property is especially useful in the treatment of shock (caused by low volume of blood resulting in less oxygen getting to tissues in the body) due to various causes, including serious injury, bleeding, surgery, or severe burns. Albumin can also replace low blood protein. Albumin solutions are also used to treat acute liver failure because of its ability to bind excess bilirubin (a substance produced by the liver) and increase the volume of blood.

During certain surgeries, albumin solutions sometimes need to be administered to replace albumin lost during the procedure. Albumin solutions may be used before blood transfusion in treatment of newborn hemolytic disease (a disorder where red blood cells are destroyed) so that extra bilirubin can be bound, reducing the risk of a condition known as kernicterus (damage and staining of the brain tissue by bilirubin). In acute nephrosis (a type of kidney disease), albumin solutions are sometimes administered to help reduce the edema (water retention) that occurs in this condition.

Your doctor may choose to use this medication for other conditions not listed here. If you're unsure why you are taking this medication, please ask your doctor.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.

How should I use this medication?

Albumin is available only as an injectable solution and is always used under direct supervision of a doctor, usually in a hospital setting. It is administered into a vein by a procedure known as intravenous infusion. The dose of this medicine varies for different people according to individual needs for plasma albumin. Many other things can also affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. Keep out of reach of children.

Who should NOT take this medication?

This medication should not be used by anyone with an allergy to albumin or any other components of the medication.

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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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