Skip to Content


Generic Name: human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, bivalent (HYOO man pap il OH ma VI rus vax EEN, bye VAY lent)
Brand Names: Cervarix

What is Cervarix?

Cervarix vaccine is used in girls and young women ages 9 through 25 to prevent cervical cancer caused by certain types of HPV (types 16 and 18).

Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause genital warts, cancer of the cervix, anal cancer, and various cancers of the vulva or vagina.

Cervarix is used only in females. Other HPV vaccines (Gardasil and Gardasil 9) are used in both females and males. This medication guide provides information only for Cervarix.

You may receive Cervarix even if you have already had a positive HPV test or abnormal pap smear in the past. However, this vaccine will not treat HPV-related cancers, and it will not cure HPV infection.

Cervarix only prevents diseases caused by HPV types 16 and 18. It will not prevent diseases caused by other types of HPV.

Cervarix is for use only in females, but other available HPV vaccines can be used in males. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HPV vaccine for all boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years old. The vaccine is also recommended in teenage boys and girls who have not already received the vaccine or have not completed all booster shots.

Like any vaccine, the Cervarix may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Important information

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you have had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Slideshow: Save Your Blushes - The FAQ's On STDs

You may feel faint after receiving Cervarix. Some people have had seizure-like reactions after receiving this vaccine.

Before receiving this medicine

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you have had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

To make sure Cervarix is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a weak immune system;

  • an allergic to latex rubber; or

  • if you are being treated with cancer medicine, steroids, or other drugs that can weaken your immune system.

Cervarix is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether human papillomavirus vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Cervarix will not protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.

How is Cervarix vaccine given?

Cervarix is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle in your upper arm. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.

Cervarix is given in a series of 3 shots. You may have the first shot at any time as long as you are between the ages of 9 and 25 years old. Then you will need to receive a second dose 1 month after your first shot, and a third dose 6 months after your first shot.

Be sure you receive all recommended doses. If you do not receive the full series of vaccines, you may not be fully protected against the disease.

Cervarix should not be used in place of having a routine pelvic exam and Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you will miss an Cervarix booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of Cervarix is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while receiving Cervarix vaccine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Human papillomavirus vaccine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Cervarix: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving Cervarix. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

You may feel faint after receiving Cervarix. Some people have had seizure-like reactions after receiving a human papilloma virus vaccine. Your doctor may want you to remain under observation during the first 15 minutes after the injection.

Developing cancer from HPV is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. However, like any medicine, Cervarix can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Common Cervarix side effects may include:

  • pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given;

  • headache, tired feeling;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain; or

  • swollen glands.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect human papillomavirus vaccine?

Other drugs may interact with HPV bivalent vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Cervarix. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Cervarix only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2015 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.02. Revision Date: 2015-09-02, 2:17:53 PM.