Generic Name: human papillomavirus vaccine (HUE-man pap-ah-LOH-mah-VYE-rus VAX-een) (Intramuscular route)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on June 23, 2020.
The Cervarix brand name has been discontinued in the U.S. If generic versions of this product have been approved by the FDA, there may be generic equivalents available.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Gardasil 9
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Vaccine
Uses for Cervarix
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent anal, cervical, vulvar, vaginal, oropharyngeal (mouth and throat), or head and neck cancer, genital warts, and abnormal or precancerous diseases of the anus, cervix, vagina, and vulva in girls and women 9 to 45 years of age.
This vaccine also helps prevent anal, oropharyngeal (mouth and throat), or head and neck cancer, genital warts, and abnormal or precancerous diseases of the anus in boys and men 9 to 45 years of age. This vaccine will not treat these diseases or protect you against diseases that are caused by other HPV types. The vaccine will not protect you against other sexually transmitted diseases that are not caused by HPV.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is an active immunizing agent used to prevent infection caused by human papillomavirus. It works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the virus. HPV infection is usually a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and is easily spread by having sex with an infected person.
This vaccine is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before using Cervarix
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.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of human papillomavirus vaccine in children younger than 9 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of human papillomavirus vaccine have not been performed in the geriatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
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:
- Allergy to yeast, history of—Should not be used in patients with this condition.
- Immune deficiency condition, or family history of—This condition may increase the chance and severity of side effects with the vaccine or may decrease the useful effects of the vaccine.
- Severe illness with fever—The symptoms of this condition may be confused with the possible side effects of the vaccine.
Proper use of Cervarix
This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain human papillomavirus vaccine. It may not be specific to Cervarix. 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 in the muscle of your upper arm or upper leg.
Your doctor may want you to stay for at least 15 minutes after receiving a shot of Gardasil® 9 to check for unwanted effects.
To get the best possible protection against infection with the HPV virus, you should complete the vaccine dosing schedule, even if you are not directly exposed to HPV.
This vaccine is usually given as 2 or 3 shots based on the brand and your age. You or your child's dosing schedule will be specific to the brand of HPV vaccine.
This medicine comes with a patient information insert. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Read it again each time you receive a shot in case there is new information. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
Precautions while using Cervarix
It is very important that you return to your doctor's office at the right time for all of the doses. Be sure to notify your doctor of any side effects that may occur after you receive this vaccine.
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 or your child has a rash, itching, swelling of the tongue and throat, or trouble with breathing after you get the injection.
This vaccine does not replace your routine screening tests for anal cancer or cervical cancer (pap test). You will need to see your doctor for screening tests even after receiving this vaccine.
You or your child may feel faint, lightheaded, or dizzy right after you receive this vaccine. Sitting or lying down for 15 minutes after you receive the vaccine may help. If any of these side effects occur, do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. If this problem continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.
The needle cover of the Cervarix® prefilled syringe may contain dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex), which may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to latex. Tell your doctor if you or your child has a latex allergy before you receive this vaccine.
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.
Cervarix 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:
Incidence not known
- back, leg, or stomach pains
- bleeding gums
- chest pain
- dark urine
- difficulty with breathing
- difficulty with swallowing
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- fast heartbeat
- general body swelling
- hives or welts, itching, or skin rash
- loss of appetite
- pale skin
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- redness of the skin
- sore throat
- swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
- tenderness, pain, swelling, warmth, skin discoloration, and prominent superficial veins over the affected area
- tightness in the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- yellow eyes or skin
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:
- Pain, redness, itching, or swelling at the injection site
- Bleeding, bruising, or lumps at the injection site
- difficulty with moving
- joint pain or swelling
- muscle ache, cramps, pain, or stiffness
- upper abdominal or stomach pain
- Blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, numbness, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
- body aches or pain
- ear congestion
- loss of voice
- stuffy or runny nose
Incidence not known
- dark urine
- difficulty with moving
- pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
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.
More about Cervarix (human papillomavirus vaccine)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Drug class: viral vaccines
- FDA Approval History
- Other brands
- Gardasil 9
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.