This medication is a vaccine used to prevent zoster (shingles) in adults 50 years and older. Zoster is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have been infected with chickenpox (usually in childhood), the virus can live in your body's nerve roots in an inactive form. For reasons that are not fully understood, the virus may become active again. This causes shingles with symptoms of rash, blisters, and pain.
This vaccine works by boosting the body's natural defense (immunity) against the zoster virus so that symptoms of shingles do not develop. It should not be used for treating active shingles, nerve pain caused by shingles, or for the prevention of chickenpox.
This vaccine should not be used in children.
This vaccine is given by injection under the skin by a health care professional. It is usually given in the upper arm.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: chickenpox.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Contact your doctor for medical advice about side effects. The following numbers do not provide medical advice, but in the US, you may report side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at 1-800-822-7967. In Canada, you may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before receiving this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to any vaccines; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as neomycin, gelatin), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before receiving this vaccination, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: immune system problems (e.g., due to HIV, cancer treatment, organ transplant), untreated active tuberculosis.
Before receiving this vaccination, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: current fever/illness, previous reaction to other vaccine.
Caution is advised if you have regular close contact with family/household members with weakened immune systems (e.g., due to cancer) or who may be pregnant. It is not known if infection may occur from close contact with someone who has received this vaccine. Consult your doctor for more details.
This vaccine is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Pregnancy should also be avoided for 3 months after receiving this vaccine. Consult your doctor for more details.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: cancer chemotherapy, corticosteroids (such as prednisone, dexamethasone), drugs that lower the immune system (such as cyclosporine, tacrolimus), certain antiviral drugs (such as acyclovir, famciclovir, valacyclovir).
Overdose with this vaccine is highly unlikely. If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
This vaccine is given as a single dose.
Although this vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of getting shingles, it may not fully protect everyone who receives the vaccine.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the need for other vaccines to prevent potentially severe illness (e.g., flu shots).
Store the vaccine in the freezer. Some brands may also be stored in the refrigerator, but then must be used within a short time. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Protect from light.
Store the mixing liquid at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Do not freeze the mixing liquid. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised July 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet