Generic Name: varicella (chickenpox) virus vaccine (VAR-i-SEL-a)
Brand Name: Varivax
Varivax is used for:
Preventing varicella (chickenpox) infections in patients 12 months old and older.
Varivax is a vaccine. It works by stimulating the body to produce antibodies against the virus that causes chickenpox. This helps to provide long-term protection against chickenpox.
Do NOT use Varivax if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in Varivax, including neomycin and gelatin
- you have certain blood or bone marrow problems (eg, leukemia, lymphoma, other cancer of the blood or bone marrow)
- you are taking medicine that weakens the immune system (eg, certain doses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone)
- you have immune system problems (eg, HIV or AIDS)
- you have a family history of immune system problems, unless you are medically proven to have no immune system problems
- you have active, untreated tuberculosis (TB)
- you have a fever
- you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant in the next 3 months
- you have had a blood or plasma transfusion or have received an immune globulin (eg, varicella-zoster immune globulin) within the past 5 months
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using Varivax:
Some medical conditions may interact with Varivax. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have cancer, are very ill, or have a history of immune system problems (eg, HIV infection) or recent infection
- if you will be having a TB skin test
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Varivax. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Corticosteroids (eg, prednisone) because the risk of infection may be increased
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Varivax may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use Varivax:
Use Varivax as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with Varivax. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- Varivax is administered as an injection at your doctor's office or clinic. Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions that you may have about Varivax.
- If you miss a dose of Varivax, contact your doctor right away.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Varivax.
Important safety information:
- This vaccine contains a weakened form of the varicella (chickenpox) virus. This is necessary to provide the best immunity.
- Varivax may not protect everyone who receives it. Varivax does not treat chickenpox once you have it. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Rarely, you could spread the chickenpox virus to others after you get this vaccine. When possible, avoid close contact with newborns, pregnant women who have not had chickenpox, and people with a weak immune system for up to 6 weeks after you receive this vaccine. Talk with your doctor if you cannot avoid close contact with these people.
- Do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin or other salicylates (eg, bismuth) for at least 6 weeks after receiving this vaccine. The risk of a serious illness called Reye syndrome may be increased.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: This vaccine can cause harm to the fetus. Do not use this vaccine if you are pregnant. Avoid becoming pregnant for 3 months following vaccination. If you become pregnant within 3 months after getting this vaccine, contact your doctor right away. It is unknown if Varivax is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using Varivax, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of Varivax:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Fever; irritability; pain, redness, swelling, or other irritation at the injection site.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); chickenpox-like rash on the body or at the injection site; shingles; shortness of breath; tingling of the skin; wheezing.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of Varivax:
Varivax is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Varivax at home, store Varivax as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Varivax out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about Varivax, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Varivax is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Varivax or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Varivax. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Varivax. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Varivax.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.