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Human papillomavirus vaccine Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to human papillomavirus vaccine: intramuscular suspension

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by human papillomavirus vaccine. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking human papillomavirus vaccine, check with your doctor or nurse immediately:

More common:
  • Fever
Less common:
  • Black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blood in urine or stools
  • blurred vision
  • body aches or pain
  • chills
  • constipation
  • cough
  • depressed mood
  • difficulty with breathing
  • dry mouth
  • dry skin and hair
  • ear congestion
  • feeling cold
  • flushed, dry skin
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • headache
  • hoarseness or husky voice
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • loss of consciousness
  • loss of voice
  • muscle cramps and stiffness
  • nasal congestion
  • nausea
  • pinpoint red spots on skin
  • runny nose
  • slowed heartbeat
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • stomachache
  • sweating
  • troubled breathing
  • unexplained weight loss
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • hives
  • itching
  • noisy breathing
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • tightness in the chest
  • wheezing
Incidence not known:
  • Anxiety
  • back pain, sudden and severe
  • back, leg, or stomach pains
  • bloating
  • chest pain
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • dark urine
  • fainting
  • general body swelling
  • hives or welts
  • hoarseness
  • inability to move the arms and legs
  • indigestion
  • irritation
  • joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of bladder control
  • muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  • muscle weakness, sudden and progressing
  • nosebleeds
  • pain in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg
  • pale skin
  • paralysis
  • rash
  • redness of the skin
  • shakiness and unsteady walk, unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
  • sudden shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  • swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, hands, or feet
  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Severity: Minor

Some of the side effects that can occur with human papillomavirus vaccine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:
  • Red streaks on the skin, swelling, tenderness, pain, or itching at the injection site
Less common:
  • Changes in skin coloring
  • cloudy urine
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with moving
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • hair loss, thinning of hair
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • pain in the joints
  • sleeplessness
  • toothache
  • trouble with sleeping
  • unable to sleep

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to human papillomavirus vaccine: intramuscular suspension


Local side effects have included injection site pain, swelling, erythema, and pruritus.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and toothache.[Ref]


General side effects have included fever, dizziness, malaise, and insomnia. Postmarketing reports have included asthenia and fatigue.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects have included cough, nasal congestion, nasopharyngitis, and upper respiratory tract infection.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects have included myalgia and arthralgia.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Gardasil (human papillomavirus vaccine)." Merck & Company Inc, West Point, PA.

Not all side effects for human papillomavirus vaccine may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. 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 substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.