Medication Guide App

hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine

Generic Name: hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine (HEP a TYE tis)
Brand Name: Twinrix Preservative-Free, Twinrix

What is hepatitis A and B vaccine?

Hepatitis A and B are serious diseases caused by virus.

Hepatitis A is spread through contact with the stool (bowel movements) of a person infected with the hepatitis A virus. This usually occurs by eating food or drinking water that has become contaminated as a result of handling by an infected person.

Hepatitis B 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.

The hepatitis A and B vaccine is used to help prevent these diseases in adults. The vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the virus, 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.

This vaccine is recommended for adults with risk factors for getting hepatitis A or B, including:

  • having chronic liver problems, such as cirrhosis or hepatitis C, or needing a liver transplant;

  • using intravenous (IV) drugs;

  • living with a person who has either hepatitis A or B infection;

  • having sexual contact with an infected person;

  • having more than one sex partner in 6 months;

  • being male and having sex with other men;

  • having a blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia;

  • being on dialysis or receiving blood transfusions;

  • living in a correctional institution;

  • being in the military or traveling to high-risk areas; and

  • working in healthcare or public safety and being exposed to infected blood or body fluids.

Like any vaccine, the hepatitis A and B vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What is the most important information I should know about hepatitis A and B vaccine?

You should not receive this vaccine if you are allergic to yeast or neomycin, or if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis A or hepatitis B.

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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving hepatitis A and B vaccine?

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

You should not receive this vaccine if you are allergic to yeast or neomycin, or if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis A or hepatitis B.

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor if you have:

  • an allergy to latex rubber; or

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

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. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. It is not known whether hepatitis A and B vaccine will harm an unborn baby. However, not vaccinating the mother could be harmful to the baby if the mother becomes infected with a disease that this vaccine could prevent. Your doctor will decide whether you should receive this vaccine, especially if you have a high risk of infection with hepatitis.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of this vaccine on the baby.

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

How is this vaccine given?

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

The hepatitis A and B vaccine is given in a series of 3 shots. The booster shots are given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot.

If you have a high risk of hepatitis infection, you may be given 3 shots within 30 days, and a fourth shot 12 months after the first.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you 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 you receive all recommended doses of this vaccine. You may not be fully protected against disease if you do not receive the full series.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving hepatitis A and B vaccine?

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

Hepatitis A and B vaccine side effects

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.

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.

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

Becoming infected with hepatitis 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.

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

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • numbness, tingling, or burning pain;

  • red or blistering skin rash with burning or tingly feeling;

  • easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums); or

  • unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness.

Common side effects include:

  • redness, tenderness, or a hard lump where the shot was given;

  • headache; or

  • tired feeling.

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)

Hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hepatitis B Prophylaxis:

Primary immunization: 1 mL IM in the deltoid area at 0, 1 and 6 months.
Alternatively, a 4 dose schedule given on days 0, 7, and 21 to 30 followed by a booster at month 12 may be used.

Usual Adult Dose for Hepatitis A Prophylaxis:

Primary immunization: 1 mL IM in the deltoid area at 0, 1 and 6 months.
Alternatively, a 4 dose schedule given on days 0, 7, and 21 to 30 followed by a booster at month 12 may be used.

What other drugs will affect hepatitis A and B 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; or

  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection.

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

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with hepatitis A and B vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about this vaccine. 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 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: 3.01. Revision Date: 2013-12-12, 2:17:32 PM.

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