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Zoster Vaccine Live (Bovine) Solution for injection

It is used to prevent shingles in adults 50 years old and over

Generic Name: zoster vaccine live

Brand Names: Zostavax

What is this medicine?

HERPES ZOSTER VIRUS VACCINE (HUR peez ZOS ter vahy ruhs vak SEEN) is a vaccine. It is used to prevent shingles in adults 50 years old and over. This vaccine is not used to treat shingles or nerve pain from shingles.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • cancer like leukemia or lymphoma
  • immune system problems or therapy
  • infection with fever
  • tuberculosis
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to vaccines, neomycin, gelatin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This vaccine is for injection under the skin. It is given by a health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. This medicine is not approved for use in children.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • adalimumab
  • anakinra
  • etanercept
  • infliximab
  • medicines to treat cancer
  • medicines that suppress your immune system

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • immunoglobulins
  • steroid medicines like prednisone or cortisone

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor for regular check ups.

This vaccine, like all vaccines, may not fully protect everyone.

After receiving this vaccine it may be possible to pass chickenpox infection to others. Avoid people with immune system problems, pregnant women who have not had chickenpox, and newborns of women who have not had chickenpox. Talk to your doctor for more information.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
  • fever, flu-like symptoms
  • pain, tingling, numbness in the hands or feet
  • swelling of the ankles, feet, hands
  • unusually weak or tired

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

  • aches or pains
  • chickenpox-like rash
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting
  • redness, pain, swelling at site where injected
  • runny nose

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

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.


Last Updated: June 06, 2011
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