Engerix-B

Generic Name: hepatitis B adult vaccine (HEP a TYE tis)
Brand Names: Engerix-B, Recombivax HB Adult, Recombivax HB Dialysis Formulation

What is Engerix-B?

Engerix-B is used to help prevent Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is a viral disease of the liver that is spread through blood or bodily fluids, sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles with an infected person, or during childbirth when a baby is born to a mother who is infected. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, or death.

Engerix-B works by exposing you to a small amount of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. Engerix-B will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Vaccination with Engerix-B is recommended for all adults and children who are at risk of getting hepatitis B. Risk factors include: having more than one sex partner in 6 months; being a homosexual male; having sexual contact with infected people; having cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis C; using intravenous (IV) drugs; being on dialysis or receiving blood transfusions; working in healthcare or public safety and being exposed to infected blood or body fluids; being in the military or traveling to high-risk areas; and living with a person who has chronic hepatitis B infection.

Like any vaccine, the Engerix-B may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Important information

Engerix-B will not protect against infection with hepatitis A, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis B if you are already infected with the virus, even if you do not yet show symptoms.

Engerix-B is given in a series of shots. The booster shots are sometimes given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot. If you have a high risk of hepatitis B infection, you may be given an additional booster 2 months after the first shot.

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Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

Be sure to receive all recommended doses of Engerix-B. You may not be fully protected if you do not receive the full series.

You can still receive Engerix-B vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving Engerix-B.

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

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

Becoming infected with hepatitis B is much more dangerous to your health than receiving Engerix-B. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Before receiving Engerix-B

Engerix-B will not protect against infection with hepatitis A, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis B if you are already infected with the virus, even if you do not yet show symptoms.

You should not receive Engerix-B if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis B, or if you are allergic to baker's yeast. You also should not receive Engerix-B if you have received cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatment in the past 3 months.

If you have any of these other conditions, your Engerix-B shot may need to be postponed or not given at all:

  • multiple sclerosis;

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising;

  • a history of seizures;

  • a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine);

  • an allergy to latex rubber;

  • a weak immune system caused by disease, bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments; or

  • if you are taking a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving Engerix-B.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Engerix-B will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while receiving the series of Engerix-B vaccine injections. It is not known whether hepatitis B vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not receive Engerix-B without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

How is Engerix-B given?

Engerix-B vaccine is injected into a muscle. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.

Engerix-B is given in a series of shots. The booster shots are sometimes given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot. If you have a high risk of hepatitis B infection, you may be given an additional booster 2 months after the first shot.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to take.

It is especially important to prevent fever from occurring if you have a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you will miss a 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.

Be sure to receive all recommended doses of Engerix-B. You may not be fully protected if you do not receive the full series.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of Engerix-B is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid?

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

Engerix-B side effects

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot of Engerix-B. Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving Engerix-B vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell your doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with hepatitis B is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, Engerix-B can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

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

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;

  • irritability;

  • fast or pounding heartbeats; or

  • easy bruising or bleeding.

Less serious Engerix-B side effects include:

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

  • headache, dizziness;

  • low fever;

  • joint pain, body aches;

  • tired feeling; or

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea.

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 Engerix-B?

Before receiving Engerix-B, tell the doctor about all other vaccines you have recently received.

Also tell the doctor if you have received drugs or treatments in the past 2 weeks that can weaken the immune system, including:

  • an oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine;

  • medications to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders, such as azathioprine (Imuran), efalizumab (Raptiva), etanercept (Enbrel), leflunomide (Arava), and others; or

  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection, such as basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).

If you are using any of these medications, you may not be able to receive Engerix-B, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

There may be other drugs that can affect Engerix-B. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Engerix-B. 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 this medication only for the indication prescribed.

  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. 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. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01. Revision Date: 6/21/2011 9:24:47 PM.

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