Hepatitis A vaccine (Intramuscular route)
hep-a-TYE-tis A VAX-een, in-AK-ti-vay-ted
Uses of This Medicine:
Hepatitis A vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The vaccine works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the disease.
Hepatitis A is a serious disease of the liver that can cause death. It is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), and is spread most often through infected food or water. Hepatitis A may also be spread by close person-to-person contact with infected persons (such as between persons living in the same household). Although some infected persons do not appear to be sick, they are still able to spread the virus to others.
Hepatitis A is less common in the U.S. and other areas of the world that have a higher level of sanitation and good water and sewage (waste) systems. However, it is a significant health problem in parts of the world that do not have such systems. If you are traveling to certain countries or remote (out-of-the-way) areas, hepatitis A vaccine will help protect you from hepatitis A disease.
It is recommended that adults and children 12 months of age and older to be vaccinated with hepatitis A vaccine when traveling to the following parts of the world:
Immunization against hepatitis A disease is also recommended for adults and children 12 months of age and older who live in areas that have a high rate of hepatitis A disease or who may be at increased risk of infection from hepatitis A virus. These persons include:
This vaccine is to be given only by or under the supervision of a doctor.
Before Using This Medicine:
In deciding to use a vaccine, the risks of taking the vaccine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this vaccine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of hepatitis A vaccine in children. However, safety and efficacy have not been established in infants younger than 12 months of age.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of hepatitis A vaccine in the elderly.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems—
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine:
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child this vaccine. This vaccine is given as a shot into one of your muscles.
This vaccine is usually given as 2 doses. After the first dose, the Havrix® booster dose is given anytime between 6 to 12 months later, while the Vaqta® booster dose is given anytime between 6 to 18 months later, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Precautions While Using This Medicine:
It is very important that you or your child return to your doctor’s office at the right time for the second dose. Be sure to notify your doctor of any unwanted effects that occur after you or your child receive this vaccine.
This vaccine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash, itching, swelling of the tongue and throat, or trouble breathing after you get the injection.
Tell your doctor if you or your child are allergic to latex. The needle cover and the rubber plunger of the prefilled syringe contain dry natural latex rubber, which may cause an allergic reaction in people with a latex allergy.
This vaccine may not protect you against hepatitis A infection if you are already infected with the virus at the time you receive the shot.
Side Effects of This Medicine:
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Last Updated: 4/4/2014
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