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Information about Recombivax HB

Brand Name(s): Engerix-B, Recombivax HB

Generic Name Hepatitis B Vaccine

What is hepatitis B vaccine?

HEPATITIS B VACCINE, RECOMBINANT (Engerix-B, Recombivax HB®) protects against infection with the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B virus can cause serious liver problems if you are infected. The virus may be spread by infected mothers to their babies at birth, through sexual activity, and by contact with infected blood or by the sharing of needles. People of all ages can get hepatitis B and can be vaccinated. Some persons may be at higher risk for this infection, ask your health care prescriber about your need for this vaccine. When given as a series of three injections to normally healthy persons, the vaccine usually provides protection against the hepatitis B virus for at least 5 years. Several brands of hepatitis B vaccine are available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive hepatitis B vaccine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • an immune deficiency (natural or due to cancer chemotherapy, radiation, or steroid therapy)
  • blood disease or bleeding disorder
  • fever or infection
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to vaccines, yeast, thimerosal, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Hepatitis B vaccine is for injection into a muscle. It is given by a health-care professional in a hospital, clinic or other health care setting. It can be given to all age groups, including newborns.

The use of this vaccine must be officially recorded. Federal law requires that the manufacturer's name and lot number; name, address, and phone number of the person giving the vaccine; and the date of administration be recorded in the patient's permanent medical record.

Your health care professional will give you an informational paper on the hepatitis B vaccine at the time of the vaccination. Be sure to read this information.

What if I miss a dose?

Remember to keep appointments for follow-up doses. Notify your health-care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment, or miss a scheduled dose.

What drug(s) may interact with hepatitis B?

  • immune globulins
  • medicines that lower your ability to fight off infections (such as chemotherapy, prednisone or cyclosporine)

Hepatitis B vaccine may or may not be administered at the same time as other common vaccines. In some cases more than one type of vaccine may be given to you at the same time, but at different sites on the body. Ask your health care provider if you have questions regarding your vaccination schedules.

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from receiving hepatitis B vaccine?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • confusion
  • difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing
  • extreme irritability
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • severe rash, itching (hives)
  • swelling of eyes or face
  • high fever (103 °F or more)
  • joint aches and pains
  • numbness in the arms or legs
  • severe headache
  • unusual weakness

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • low-grade fever (102 °F or less)
  • muscle aches and pains
  • pain, tenderness, redness, or swelling at the injection site
  • skin rash or itching
  • sore throat
  • tiredness

What should I watch for while taking hepatitis B vaccine?

Report any side effects to your prescriber or health care professional promptly. Ask your health care professional about immunization for other family members.

Hepatitis B vaccine will not give you immunity against hepatitis A, C, or E. Hepatitis D does not occur without hepatitis B, so you can assume that protection from hepatitis B also protects against hepatitis D.

The normal vaccine schedule is for the first dose to be followed by a second after one month and then a third dose six months later. In some situations, other vaccination schedules are recommended. Check with your prescriber or health care professional. It is important that you have the full course of injections.

Where can I keep my medicine?

This vaccine will be administered in the clinic or office of a health care professional. You will not be given vaccine doses to store at home.

(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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