Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

HPV/Genital Warts Health Center

Font Size

HPV Vaccine Gardasil for Boys?

FDA Panel to Consider Approving HPV Vaccine Gardasil for Males Ages 9 to 26 to Prevent Genital Warts
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 8, 2009 -- An FDA advisory committee will meet Wednesday to consider whether to recommend approving the vaccine Gardasil for males ages 9 to 26.

Gardasil targets four strains of human papillomavirus, commonly called HPV. The vaccine already has FDA approval for use in females ages 9 to 26. But HPV isn't restricted to girls and women.

Males can carry HPV and transmit it sexually to their partners. HPV can also cause genital warts and penile and anal cancer in men. Those cancers are rarer than cervical cancer, which HPV can cause in women.

HPV more commonly causes genital warts in men; each year, about 200 out of 100,000 males are newly diagnosed with genital warts, according to background information cited by the FDA.

Gardasil is up for FDA consideration only as a way to prevent genital warts, not to prevent cancer or to curb transmission of the HPV virus to women.

The FDA advisory committee will review three studies of Gardasil that together included more than 5,000 males ages 9 to 26 in various countries including the U.S. Participants got three shots of either Gardasil or a placebo over six months. They also got checkups and tests for HPV infection.

Gardasil was 89% effective in preventing genital warts. The vaccine was less effective in participants who had already been exposed to HPV.

No serious side effects were seen, according to information posted on the FDA's web site.

The most commonly reported adverse events were fever and headache. Injection site reactions were more common with Gardasil than with the placebo. Most of those reactions were mild to moderate in intensity, Gardasil's maker, the drug company Merck, states in a document posted on the FDA's web site.

Gardasil is licensed for use in males in many countries, and there haven't been any red flags raised about the vaccine's safety in the limited number of international safety reports that have been done, FDA documents state. But those FDA documents say that post-marketing surveillance and studies will be "essential" if Gardasil is approved for males. Merck's post-marketing plans will be discussed at Wednesday's meeting.

There wasn't enough data to assess Gardasil for preventing other conditions since those conditions were so rare, the FDA notes.

The FDA advisory committee doesn't have the final word on approving Gardasil for boys; that's the FDA's job. The FDA often follows the recommendations of its advisory committees, but it isn't required to do so.

Today on WebMD

HPV Vaccine Future
STD Overview
STD Facts Quiz
Syringes and graph illustration
Sex Drive Killers
Genital Herpes Risks Quiz
Young couple holding hands
Herpes Vaccine Study
Condom Quiz
HPV Symptoms Tests
Get The STD Picture
cancer cell

WebMD Special Sections