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measles virus vaccine

Generic Name: measles virus vaccine (MEE sels VYE rus vax EEN)
Brand Name: Attenuvax

What is measles virus vaccine?

Measles is a serious disease caused by a virus. It is spread from person to person through the air.

Measles virus can cause minor symptoms such as skin rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, or mild fever. It can also cause more serious symptoms such as ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, permanent brain damage, or death.

The measles virus vaccine is a live-virus vaccine used to help prevent this disease in children and adults.

This 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.

Measles virus vaccine is for use in adults and children who are at least 12 months old, and in adults who have never received the vaccine or had the diseases.

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

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

You should not receive this vaccine if you are allergic to gelatin or neomycin (Mycifradin, Neo-Fradin, Neo-Tab), or if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing the measles virus.

You should also not receive this vaccine if you have a weak immune system, or if you have leukemia, lymphoma, bone marrow cancer, or if you are pregnant.

You should not receive a measles virus vaccine if you are pregnant. Wait until after your child is born to receive the vaccine.

Avoid becoming pregnant for at least 3 months after receiving a measles virus vaccine.

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Do not receive this vaccine without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor if you are allergic to eggs, or if you have thrombocytopenia purpura, untreated tuberculosis, a history of seizures or head injury, or if you have received an immune globulin or other blood product within the past 3 months.

The measles vaccine is usually given to a child who is 12 to 15 month old. A measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine should then be given before the child starts elementary school.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. In addition to the measles virus vaccine, you may also need to receive a measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.

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

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 shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with measles is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against these diseases. 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 are allergic to:

  • gelatin;

  • neomycin (Mycifradin, Neo-Fradin, Neo-Tab); or

  • if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing the measles virus.

You should also not receive this vaccine if you have:

  • severe immune suppression caused by certain medications, or by receiving chemotherapy or radiation;

  • a weak immune system caused by disease (such as cancer, HIV, or AIDS), bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments;

  • leukemia, lymphoma, or any cancer that affects the bone marrow or lymph nodes; or

  • if you are pregnant.

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

  • allergy to eggs;

  • thrombocytopenia purpura (easy bruising or bleeding);

  • active and untreated tuberculosis infection;

  • a history of head or brain injury;

  • a personal or family history of seizures; or

  • if you have received an immune globulin or other blood product within the past 3 months.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold or low fever. 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.

You should not receive a measles virus vaccine if you are pregnant. Wait until after your child is born to receive the vaccine.

Avoid becoming pregnant for at least 3 months after receiving a measles virus vaccine.

Do not receive this vaccine without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is this vaccine given?

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

The measles vaccine is usually given to a child who is 12 to 15 month old. A measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine should then be given before the child starts elementary school.

Children younger than 12 months old may be vaccinated against measles in an outbreak situation. If the child receives the first measles virus vaccine before the age of 12 months, a booster dose should be given between 12 and 15 months of age.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. In addition to the measles virus vaccine, you may also need to receive a measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.

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

This vaccine can cause false results on a skin test for tuberculosis. For a few weeks after vaccination, tell any doctor who treats you that you have received the measles virus vaccine.

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

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 before or after you receive a measles vaccine.

Measles virus vaccines 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. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with measles is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against these diseases. 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:

  • high fever;

  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;

  • severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;

  • seizure (convulsions);

  • weakness, numbness or tingly feeling in your feet and spreading upward;

  • problems with hearing or vision;

  • problems with eye movement, speech, swallowing, or bladder and bowel functions;

  • severe lower back pain; or

  • slow heart rate, trouble breathing, feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious side effects include:

  • redness, burning, stinging, swelling, blistering, or hives where the shot was given;

  • headache, dizziness;

  • feeling irritable;

  • fussiness, excessive crying;

  • low fever, cough, runny nose;

  • joint or muscle pain; or

  • nausea, vomiting, 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)

Measles virus vaccine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Measles Prophylaxis:

0.5 mL administered subcutaneously, preferably into the outer aspect of the upper arm.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Measles Prophylaxis:

The recommended age for primary vaccination is 12 to 15 months:
0.5 mL administered subcutaneously, preferably into the outer aspect of the upper arm.

Children first vaccinated when younger than 12 months of age should receive another dose between 12 to 15 months of age followed by revaccination prior to elementary school entry.

What other drugs will affect measles virus 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, topical, or injectable steroid medicine used for 2 weeks or longer;

  • 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 a measles virus vaccine, or you may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can affect this vaccine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you have received. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using 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: 1.04. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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