Pentacel

Generic Name: diphtheria, haemophilus B, pertussis, polio, tetanus vaccine (dif THEER ee a, hem OFF il us, per TUS is, POE lee oh, TET a nus)
Brand Names: Pentacel

What is Pentacel vaccine?

Pentacel is a vaccine used to improve immunity against diphtheria, haemophilus influenza type B, pertussis, polio, and tetanus, all serious diseases caused by bacteria or viruses.

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

Haemophilus B bacteria can infect the lungs or throat, and can also spread to the blood, bones, joints, brain, or spinal cord. It can cause breathing problems or meningitis, and these infections can be fatal.

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.

Polio affects the central nervous system and spinal cord. It can cause muscle weakness and paralysis. Polio is a life threatening condition because it can paralyze the muscles that help you breathe.

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, haemophilus B, pertussis, and polio are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through a cut or wound.

Pentacel vaccine is used to help prevent these diseases in children who are ages 6 weeks through 4 years (before the 5th birthday).

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

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

Important information

Pentacel is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is 2 months old. The booster shots are then given at 4 months, 6 months, and 15 to 18 months of age. Your child's 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.

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Be sure your child receives all recommended doses of Pentacel. If your child does not receive the full series of vaccines, he or she may not be fully protected against the disease.

Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving Pentacel.

Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Your child should not receive Pentacel if he or she has a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine).

Becoming infected with diphtheria, haemophilus influenzae, pertussis, tetanus, or polio is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine to protect against these diseases. Like any medicine, Pentacel can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Before receiving Pentacel

Your child should not receive Pentacel if he or she has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing diphtheria, haemophilus, pertussis, polio, or tetanus. Your child also should not receive Pentacel if he or she has a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine).

Your child may not be able to receive Pentacel if he or she has ever received a similar vaccine that caused any of the following:

  • a very high fever (over 104 degrees), excessive crying for 3 hours or longer, fainting or going into shock (within 48 hours after receiving a vaccine containing pertussis);

  • an allergy to neomycin, streptomycin or polymyxin B, or yeast;

  • a seizure (within 3 days after receiving a vaccine containing pertussis); or

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

If your child has any of these other conditions, Pentacel may need to be postponed or not given at all:

  • a history of seizures or premature birth; or

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

Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving Pentacel.

How is Pentacel given?

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

Pentacel is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is 2 months old. The booster shots are then given at 4 months, 6 months, and 15 to 18 months of age. Your child's 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.

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 give your child.

It is especially important to prevent fever from occurring in a child who has 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 your child receives all recommended doses of Pentacel. Your child may not be fully protected if he or she does not receive the full series.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of Pentacel is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid?

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

Pentacel side effects

Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot. Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving Pentacel. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with diphtheria, haemophilus B, pertussis, polio, or tetanus is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving Pentacel. 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 to Pentacel: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if the child has any of these side effects:

  • irritability, crying for an hour or longer;

  • very high fever; or

  • extreme drowsiness, fainting.

Common side effects may include:

  • low fever, mild fussiness; or

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

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 Pentacel vaccine?

Before your child receives Pentacel, tell the doctor if your child has recently received any drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system. If your child is using any of these medications, he or she may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

More about Pentacel (diphtheria toxoid / haemophilus b conjugate (prp-t) vaccine / pertussis, acellular / poliovirus vaccine, inactivated / tetanus toxoid)

Consumer resources

Professional resources

Related treatment guides

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Pentacel. 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 Pentacel 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: 2.01. Revision Date: 2013-11-14, 10:00:21 PM.

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