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.
Remember that your health care professional 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, get medical help right away 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 the 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 call the Vaccine Safety Section at Public Health Agency of Canada at 1-866-844-0018.
Before you receive this vaccine, tell the health care professional if you are allergic to it; 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.
Before receiving this vaccine, tell your health care professional your medical history, especially of: current fever/illness, immune system problems (e.g., due to HIV, cancer treatment, organ transplant), previous reaction to other vaccine, untreated active tuberculosis.
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 vaccine 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).
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).
Different brands of this medication have different storage needs. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Some brands may need to be stored in the freezer, while other brands may be stored in the refrigerator. If you are instructed to store it in the refrigerator, check with your pharmacist to see if the vaccine must be used within a short time. 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 March 2015. Copyright(c) 2015 First Databank, Inc.
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