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Adacel (Tdap)

Generic Name: tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) (TET a nus, dif THEER ee a, and ay SEL yoo ler per TUS iss)
Brand Name: Adacel (Tdap), Boostrix (Tdap)

What is tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap)?

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are serious diseases caused by bacteria.

Tetanus (lockjaw) causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open the mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in about 1 out of 10 cases.

Diphtheria causes a thick coating in the nose, throat, and airways. It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, or death.

Pertussis (whooping cough) causes coughing so severe that it interferes with eating, drinking, or breathing. These spells can last for weeks and can lead to pneumonia, seizures (convulsions), brain damage, and death.

Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through a cut or wound.

The diphtheria, tetanus acellular, and pertussis adult vaccine (also called Tdap) is used to help prevent these diseases in people who are at least 10 years old. Most people in this age group require only one Tdap shot for protection against these diseases.

This vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

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

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine?

In most cases, tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis vaccine is given in only one dose. Follow your doctor's instructions about receiving a booster dose if needed.

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 this vaccine.

Slideshow: Vaccination Safety: Your Questions Answered

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 this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with diphtheria, pertussis, or tetanus is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine?

You should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had a serious reaction to any vaccine containing diphtheria, pertussis, or tetanus, including extreme drowsiness, fainting, or seizures (convulsions).

You may not be able to receive a Tdap vaccine if you have ever received a similar vaccine that caused any of the following:

  • a very high fever (over 104 degrees);

  • a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain;

  • fainting or going into shock;

  • an allergy to latex rubber;

  • severe or uncontrolled epilepsy or other seizure disorder; or

  • Guillain-Barré syndrome (within 6 weeks after receiving a vaccine containing tetanus).

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

  • a history of seizures;

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

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

  • if it has been less than 5 years since you last received a tetanus shot.

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 this vaccine.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this vaccine is harmful to an unborn baby. Before receiving the Tdap vaccine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether Tdap vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

The adult version of this vaccine (Adacel, Boostrix) should not be given to anyone under the age of 10. Another vaccine is available for use in children younger than 10 years old.

How is this vaccine given?

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

In most cases, you will receive only one dose of the tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis vaccine. Follow your doctor's instructions about receiving a booster dose if needed.

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?

Since this vaccine is given as a one time injection, you are not likely to be on a dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity after receiving a Tdap vaccine.

This vaccine side effects

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 this vaccine. If you ever need to receive a booster dose, you will need to tell your doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with diphtheria, pertussis, or tetanus is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine 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: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects within 7 days after receiving this vaccine:

  • extreme drowsiness, fainting;

  • seizure (black-out or convulsions); or

  • high fever.

Less serious side effects include:

  • mild fever or chills;

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

  • headache or tiredness;

  • joint pain, body aches; or

  • mild nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.

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 tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis vaccine?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines you have recently received.

Also tell the doctor if you have recently received drugs or treatments 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), 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).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis vaccine. 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 may have information about this vaccine written for health professionals that you may read. You may also find additional information 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 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 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.01. Revision Date: 2011-07-28, 3:58:55 PM.

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