Community AA Voices - personal stories All personal stories What is receiving ATG treatment like? If you're reading this it means that you’re due to have your ATG treatment or have been told that this is the best treatment option for you. I’m going to share with you my own experience of having ATG. I had to have the ATG treatment because when I was diagnosed with very severe aplastic anaemia the doctors wanted me to have a bone marrow transplant but there was no match. So the next best thing was ATG. There are two types of ATG that get used which are horse ATG and rabbit ATG. The treatment I had was horse. ATG is a drug made of antibodies that suppress the immune system. It is made by injecting horses with white blood cells from humans, called lymphocytes. By injecting the horses with these human lymphocytes, the horse’s immune system produce antibodies directed against these human lymphocytes. These antibodies are then collected and purified to produce the ATG medicine. From what I know, the horse does not get harmed during this process. Having ATG is rather easy, it is injected into a 1000ml bag of normal saline, and attached to your picc line or Hickman line and runs for around 12 hours a day, the course is normally 4 days. Before having the first full bag they give a small dose over an hour as some may be allergic to it. I started mine on my second week of being in hospital as they wanted to do further testing on me on the first week. I started ATG on Monday and finished on the Thursday. Before each dose I was given a steroid called methylprednisolone through my picc and also an antihistamine, just in case there were any reactions. Then the ATG would go up. During the 4 days of having ATG, in my own experience of having it I felt well. I did have to have a bag of platelets a few times before though because my platelets kept dropping and to have ATG they needed to be >30. But that was never an issue because platelets only take 30 minutes to go through anyway. After the treatment had finished so for me it was Thursday, on the Friday I then started on tablets called ciclosporin. Which are also an immunosuppressant. I also started on oral steroids too. Once treatment is finished, it is said by the doctors that you need to stay in hospital for a further two weeks to be monitored for a side effect called serum sickness. This usually involves flu like symptoms, high temp, shivering and aching joints. I was lucky enough not to experience any of these side effects and due to this and the results of my bloods I was then able to go home a week earlier than anticipated. Looking back at my own experience of having ATG, it went very smoothly. It was not painful and most the time I didn’t even notice it was going in. Everyone's experience with it is going to be different but so far it seems to be working well for me and I hope it continues to work to save having a bone marrow transplant. Hello, I’m Elin! I’m 25 years old, busy working as a nurse normally but very recently been diagnosed with very severe aplastic anaemia. Read more from Elin Read more AA voices Did you know? The Aplastic Anaemia Trust publishes several free resources about ATG treatment, which are available for different age groups! ATG factsheet for adults View online Order booklet ATG factsheet for ages 5-11 View online Order booklet ATG factsheet for ages 12-16 View online Order booklet ATG factsheet for ages 17-25 View online Order booklet AA voices AA voices is a collection of blogs in which people affected by aplastic anaemia share the stories they feel are important, in their own words. If you would like to tell your story here, please get in touch with Ellie, our Comms and Fundraising Manager, by emailing [email protected].