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Zoster vaccine live

Generic Name: zoster vaccine live (ZOS-ter)
Brand Name: Zostavax

Zoster vaccine live is used for:

Preventing herpes zoster (shingles) in certain patients.

Zoster vaccine live is an attenuated live vaccine for varicella-zoster virus (VZV). VZV is the virus that causes shingles. Zoster vaccine live works by helping your immune system protect you from VZV.

Do NOT use zoster vaccine live if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in zoster vaccine live
  • you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, severe rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to gelatin or neomycin
  • you have a history of a weakened immune system (eg, advanced HIV, AIDS, leukemia, lymphoma, cancer of the bone marrow or lymphatic system)
  • you have active untreated tuberculosis (TB)
  • you are or may be pregnant, or plan to become pregnant within 3 months after you receive zoster vaccine live
  • you take medicine that may weaken your immune system, including immunosuppressants (eg, cyclosporine) or high-dose corticosteroids (eg, prednisone)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using zoster vaccine live:

Some medical conditions may interact with zoster vaccine live. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have ever had an allergic reaction (eg, rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to neomycin or another vaccine
  • if you have ever had shingles
  • if you have an infection, fever, or other current illness
  • if you may be in close contact (eg, in the house or workplace) with anyone who has a weakened immune system, with a newborn infant, or with a woman who may be pregnant and has not had chickenpox or been vaccinated against chickenpox
  • if you have recently had or are scheduled to have any other vaccine (eg, flu, pneumococcal)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with zoster vaccine live. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Corticosteroids (eg, prednisone) or immunosuppressants (eg, cyclosporine) because they may decrease zoster vaccine live's effectiveness or increase the risk of infection from zoster vaccine live
  • Pneumococcal vaccine because it may decrease zoster vaccine live's effectiveness if given within 4 weeks of zoster vaccine live

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if zoster vaccine live may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use zoster vaccine live:

Use zoster vaccine live as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with zoster vaccine live. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Zoster vaccine live is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • Do not use zoster vaccine live if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • If you miss a dose of zoster vaccine live, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use zoster vaccine live.

Important safety information:

  • Zoster vaccine live is used to prevent shingles. It cannot be used to treat shingles once you have it.
  • Zoster vaccine live may not prevent everyone who receives it from getting shingles. If you do get shingles after you receive zoster vaccine live, it may help prevent nerve pain that can follow shingles in some people. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Rarely, people who receive zoster vaccine live may spread the vaccine virus to other people. Tell your doctor if you have close contact with anyone who has a weakened immune system, with a newborn infant, or with a woman who may be pregnant and has not had chickenpox or been vaccinated against chickenpox. You will need to discuss the risk of spreading the vaccine virus to these people.
  • Some patients who received zoster vaccine live have reported fever, swollen glands near the injection site that lasted a few days to a few weeks, or joint or muscle pain. Check with your doctor if you experience side effects that persist or become bothersome. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Zoster vaccine live should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use zoster vaccine live if you are pregnant. Do not become pregnant for at least 3 months after you receive zoster vaccine live. If you suspect that you could be pregnant or if you become pregnant within 3 months after receiving zoster vaccine live, contact your doctor immediately. It is not known if zoster vaccine live is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using zoster vaccine live, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of zoster vaccine live:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Headache; pain, swelling, redness, itching, warmth, and bruising at the injection site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of zoster vaccine live:

Zoster vaccine live is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using zoster vaccine live at home, store zoster vaccine live as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about zoster vaccine live, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Zoster vaccine live is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take zoster vaccine live or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about zoster vaccine live. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to zoster vaccine live. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using zoster vaccine live.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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