Generic name: diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis booster vaccine (intramuscular route) [ ree-DOOST-dif-THEER-ee-a-TOX-oyd, TET-a-nus-TOX-oyd, per-TUS-iss-VAX-een, a-SELL-yoo-lar ]
Drug class: Vaccine combinations
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 12, 2022.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Vaccine
Uses for Adacel
Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis booster vaccine (also known as Tdap) is a combination immunizing agent used to protect against infections caused by diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough). This vaccine is given to children 10 years of age and older, and to adults who have already been given this vaccine in the past. The vaccine will "boost" or increase the protection that the patient had from an earlier dose.
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 can also cause pneumonia, long-lasting bronchitis, seizures, brain damage, and death.
Children 10 years of age and older, and adults, may need an additional immunization called a booster against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Adults and teenagers should receive Tdap instead of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) injection if it has been 10 years or more since their last tetanus-diphtheria vaccine. Tdap vaccine is recommended for adults who are in close contact with a baby who is less than a year old and for adults who work in the healthcare field.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases that can cause life-threatening illnesses. Although some serious side effects can occur after a dose of Tdap (usually from the pertussis vaccine part), 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 Tdap vaccine.
This vaccine is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before using Adacel
In deciding to use a vaccine, the risks of taking the vaccine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this vaccine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Adacel® and Boostrix® are not used in children younger than 10 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that teenagers be given a Tdap vaccine instead of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccine. The committee is also encouraging all teenagers, even those who have already received Td, to get a Tdap booster to help protect against pertussis (eg, whooping cough). If you have questions about whether your teenager should receive Tdap, contact your doctor.
Adacel® is not used in adults 65 years of age and older.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of Boostrix® in the elderly.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with 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. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Brachial neuritis (nerve problem) or
- Brain or nerve disorder, unstable or progressive or
- Epilepsy (seizures or convulsions), uncontrolled or
- Guillain-Barré syndrome (nerve disorder with paralysis), history of after a vaccine with tetanus or
- Infection, severe or
- Progressive encephalopathy (brain disease) or
- Stroke, active—Your doctor will decide if you or your child should receive this vaccine.
- Encephalopathy (brain disease), history of within 7 days after a pertussis vaccine—Should not be used in patients with this condition.
- Immunodeficiency disorder (weak immune system)—May not work as well in patients with this condition.
Proper use of Adacel
This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis booster vaccine. It may not be specific to Adacel. Please read with care.
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child this vaccine. It is given as a shot into one of your muscles.
This vaccine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
You will receive the first dose of Adacel® or Boostrix® 5 years or more after the last dose of a DTaP series or tetanus toxoid vaccine. The second dose may be given 8 years or more for Adacel® or 9 years or more for Boostrix® after the first dose of Tdap vaccine.
To prevent tetanus, a booster dose of Adacel® or Boostrix® may be given if it has been at least 5 years after you have received a tetanus toxoid vaccine.
You or your child may receive other vaccines at the same time as this one, but in a different body area. You should receive patient instructions for all of the vaccines. Make sure you understand all of the information and talk to your doctor or nurse if you have questions.
It is important that you or your child receive all of the shots. Try to keep all scheduled appointments. Make another appointment as soon as possible if you or your child misses a dose of this vaccine.
Precautions while using Adacel
It is very important that you call the doctor right away if you or your child have any unwanted effects after receiving the vaccine. This may include fainting, seizures, a high fever, crying that will not stop, or severe redness or swelling where the shot was given.
This vaccine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, swelling of the tongue and throat, or trouble breathing after you get the injection.
Fainting may occur after you receive this vaccine. You may also have vision changes, numbness or tingling in your arms, hands, or feet, or jerky movements of the arms and legs. Call the doctor right away if you or your child have any of these symptoms.
It is very important to tell the doctor if you or your child are allergic to rubber. The tip caps of the prefilled syringes may contain dry natural latex rubber. This may cause an allergic reaction if you have a latex allergy.
This vaccine will not treat an active infection. If you or your child have a diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis infection, you will need medicine to treat the infection.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Adacel side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Crying for 3 or more hours
- Blurred vision
- difficulty with breathing or swallowing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- fever of 102.2 degrees F or more
- headache (severe or continuing)
- hives or welts
- itching, especially of the feet or hands
- reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
- sleepiness (unusual and continuing)
- swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
- unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)
- vomiting (severe or continuing)
Incidence not known
- Blood in the urine
- bloody or black, tarry stools
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- chest pain, discomfort, or tightness
- dry mouth
- fast heartbeat
- flushed, dry skin
- fruit-like breath odor
- inability to move the arms and legs
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- large, flat, blue or purplish patches on the skin
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or genitals
- loss of consciousness
- muscle pain or spasms
- painful knees and ankles
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- redness and swelling on the skin, buttocks, legs, or ankles
- skin rash
- stiff neck
- stomach pain
- sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
- swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
- unexplained weight loss
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Body aches
- fever of 99.5 degrees F or more
- redness, swelling, tenderness, pain, or a lump at the injection of site
Incidence not known
- Back pain
- injection site bruising
- muscle or joint pain
- weakness of the muscles in the face
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
More about Adacel (Tdap) (diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid)
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- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
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- Drug class: vaccine combinations
- FDA approval history
- Other brands
- Boostrix (Tdap)
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