Alert

hepatitis B adult vaccine

Pronunciation: HEP a TYE tis B a DULT VAX een

Brand: Engerix-B, Heplisav-B, Recombivax HB Adult, Recombivax HB Dialysis Formulation

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine?

You should not receive hepatitis B vaccine if you are allergic to yeast.

This vaccine will not protect against hepatitis B if you are already infected with the virus, even if you do not yet show symptoms.

What is hepatitis B vaccine?

Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, or death.

Hepatitis B is spread through blood or bodily fluids, sexual contact, and by sharing items such as a razor, toothbrush, or IV drug needle with an infected person. Hepatitis B can also be passed to a baby during childbirth when the mother is infected.

The hepatitis B adult vaccine is used to help prevent this disease in adults. The dialysis form of this vaccine is for adults receiving dialysis.

This vaccine helps your body develop immunity to hepatitis B, but it will not treat an active infection you already have.

Vaccination with hepatitis B adult vaccine is recommended for all adults who are at risk of getting hepatitis B. Risk factors include: living with someone infected with hepatitis B virus; having more than one sex partner; men who have sex with men; having sexual contact with infected people; having hepatitis C, chronic liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, HIV or AIDS; being on dialysis; using intravenous (IV) drugs; living or working in a facility for developmentally disabled people; working in healthcare or public safety and being exposed to blood or body fluids; living or working in a correctional facility; being a victim of sexual abuse or assault; and traveling to areas where hepatitis B is common.

Like any vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine?

Hepatitis B vaccine will not protect against infection with hepatitis A, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis B if you are already infected with the virus, even if you do not yet show symptoms.

You should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis B, or if you are allergic to yeast.

If you have any of these other conditions, your vaccine may need to be postponed or not given at all:

  • multiple sclerosis;
  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising;
  • weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine);
  • an allergy to latex; or
  • a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine).

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. If you have a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, your doctor may recommend waiting until you get better before you receive this vaccine.

It is not known whether this vaccine will harm an unborn baby. However, if you are at a high risk for infection with hepatitis B during pregnancy, your doctor should determine whether you need this vaccine.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of this vaccine on the baby.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while receiving this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

How is this vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

The hepatitis B vaccine is given in a series of 2 to 4 shots. The booster shots are sometimes given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot. If you have a high risk of hepatitis B infection, you may be given an additional booster 1 to 2 months after the third shot.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you will miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure to receive all recommended doses of this vaccine or you may not be fully protected against disease.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What are the possible side effects of this vaccine?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with hepatitis B is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • seizure-like muscle movements; or
  • fever, swollen glands.

Common side effects include:

  • headache;
  • feeling tired; or
  • redness, pain, swelling, or a lump where the shot was given.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What other drugs will affect hepatitis B vaccine?

Other drugs may affect this vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about this vaccine. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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