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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Infanrix
  • Tripedia

In Canada—


Generic name product may be available in the U.S. and Canada.

Other commonly used names are acellular DTP , DTaP , DTP , DTwP , and whole-cell DTP .


  • Immunizing agent, active


Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis (dif-THEER-ee-a and TET-n-us and per-TUS-iss) vaccine (also known as DTP) is a combination immunizing agent given by injection to prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

Diphtheria is a serious illness that can cause breathing difficulties, heart problems, nerve damage, pneumonia, and possibly death. The risk of serious complications and death is greater in very young children and in the elderly.

Tetanus (also known as lockjaw) is a serious illness that causes convulsions (seizures) and severe muscle spasms that can be strong enough to cause bone fractures of the spine. Tetanus causes death in 30 to 40 percent of cases.

Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is a serious disease that causes severe spells of coughing that can interfere with breathing. Pertussis also can cause pneumonia, long-lasting bronchitis, seizures, brain damage, and death.

Immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis is recommended for all infants and children from 2 months of age up to their 7th birthday. Children 11 years of age and older and adults may need an additional immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Adults should receive the diphtheria and tetanus injections every 10 years for the rest of their lives.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases that can cause life-threatening illnesses. Although some serious side effects can occur after a dose of DTP (usually from the pertussis vaccine in DTP), this rarely happens. The chance of your child catching one of these diseases and being permanently injured or dying as a result is much greater than the chance of your child getting a serious side effect from the DTP vaccine.

DTP is available in the following dosage form:

  • Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S. and Canada)

Before Receiving This Vaccine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For DTP, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you or your child has ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, pertussis vaccine, or DTP. Also tell your health care professional if your child is allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives.

Pregnancy—Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals. Before receiving this vaccine, make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether DPT passes into breast milk. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who receive this vaccine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.

Children—Use is not recommended for infants up to 2 months of age.

Older adults—Use is not recommended for persons older than 64 years of age.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you receive this vaccine, it is especially important that your health care professional knows if you are taking any of the following:

  • Anticoagulant therapy (medicines that prevent blood clots) (warfarin [e.g., Coumadin])—Caution should be used to prevent blood clots at the injection site.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of DTP. Make sure you tell your doctor if you or your child has any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergic reaction to a previous dose of DTP or
  • Brain disease or
  • Fever—Use of DTP may make the condition worse or may increase the chance of side effects.
  • Bleeding disorders—This vaccine should not be given to anyone who has a bleeding disorder.
  • Brain disorders or
  • Epilepsy (seizure disorder) or
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (inflammatory disorder which causes paralysis) or
  • Nervous system disorder—Your doctor will decide if you should receive this vaccine.

Proper Use of This Vaccine

Dosing—Only the ADACEL brand of DTaP vaccine should be given to adults and teenagers 11 to 64 years of age.

The dose of DTP will be different for different patients. The following information includes only the average doses of DTP.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • For prevention of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis:
      • Adults and children 11 years of age and older—One single dose of ADACEL brand vaccine
      • Children 2 months to 7 years of age—One dose every four to eight weeks for a total of three doses, then a fourth dose six to twelve months after the third dose. A booster dose should be given at 4, 5, or 6 years of age. (The booster dose is given only if the fourth dose was given before the child's 4th birthday.)

Precautions After Receiving This Vaccine

At the time of the DTP injection, your doctor may give your child a dose of acetaminophen (or another medicine that helps prevent fever). This is to help prevent some of the side effects of DTP. Your doctor may also want your child to take this medicine every 4 hours for 24 hours after your child receives the DTP injection. Check with your doctor if you have any questions.

Side Effects of This Vaccine

Along with its needed effects, a vaccine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. It is very important that you tell your doctor about any side effect that occurs after a dose of DTP , even though the side effect may have gone away without treatment. Some types of side effects may mean that your child should not receive any more doses of DTP.

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following side effects occur :

Less frequent

Collapse; crying for 3 or more hours


Confusion; convulsions (seizures); difficulty in breathing or swallowing; fever of 105 °F (40.5 °C) or more; headache (severe or continuing); hives; irritability (unusual); itching, especially of feet or hands; periods of unconsciousness or lack of awareness; reddening of skin, especially around ears; sleepiness (unusual and continuing); swelling of eyes, face, or inside of nose; unusual tiredness, weakness (sudden and severe); vomiting (severe or continuing)

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away as your child's body adjusts to the vaccine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Fever between 100.4 and 102.2 °F (38 and 39 °C) (may occur with fretfulness, drowsiness, vomiting, and loss of appetite); lump at place of injection (may be present for a few weeks after injection); redness, swelling, tenderness, or pain at place of injection

Less common

Fever between 102.2 and 104 °F (39 and 40 °C) (may occur with fretfulness, drowsiness, vomiting, and loss of appetite)


Fever between 104 and 105 °F (40 and 40.5 °C) (may occur with fretfulness, drowsiness, vomiting, and loss of appetite); skin rash; swollen glands on side of neck (following DTP injection into arm)

Incidence not known

Injection site bruising; itching skin; redness of skin; welts

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Revised: 11/17/2005