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Adacel (Tdap) Side Effects

Generic Name: diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid

Note: This document contains side effect information about diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Adacel (Tdap).

For the Consumer

Applies to diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid: intramuscular suspension

Along with its needed effects, diphtheria toxoid/pertussis, acellular/tetanus toxoid 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 while taking diphtheria toxoid/pertussis, acellular/tetanus toxoid:

Less Common

  • Crying for 3 or more hours
  • fainting


  • Confusion
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  • fever of 102.2 degrees F or more
  • headache (severe or continuing)
  • hives
  • itching, especially of the feet or hands
  • low blood pressure
  • 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
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • chills
  • cough
  • dizziness
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • 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 sex organs
  • loss of consciousness
  • muscle pain or spasm
  • nausea
  • 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
  • sweating
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble breathing
  • unexplained weight loss
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Some side effects of diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid 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:

More Common

  • Body aches
  • diarrhea
  • fever of 99.5 degrees F or more
  • headache
  • redness, swelling, tenderness, pain, or a lump at the place of injection
  • tiredness

Incidence Not Known

  • Back pain
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • injection site bruising
  • muscle or joint pain
  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • weakness of the muscles in the face
  • welts on the skin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid: intramuscular suspension


The most common adverse event was pain at the injection site.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Injection site pain (87.1%), injection site erythema (24.7%), injection site swelling (21%)

Postmarketing reports: Large (over 50 mm) injection site reactions, extensive limb swelling from the injection site beyond one or both joints, injection site bruising, sterile abscess[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (43.7%),

Frequency not reported: Severe migraine with unilateral facial paralysis, nerve compression in neck and left arm

Postmarketing reports: Paresthesia, hypoesthesia, Guillain-Barre syndrome, brachial neuritis, facial palsy, convulsion, syncope, myelitis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Body ache or muscle weakness (30.4%), chills (15.1%), sore and swollen joints (11.3%)

Common (1% to 10%): Myalgia

Postmarketing reports: Myositis, muscle spasm[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (13.3%), diarrhea (10.3%)

Common (1% to 10%): Vomiting[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Anaphylactic reaction, hypersensitivity reaction (angioedema, edema, rash, hypotension), Arthus hypersensitivity[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Tiredness (30.2%), chills (15.1%)

Common (1% to 10%): Fever, malaise[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Rash

Postmarketing reports: Pruritus, urticaria[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Myocarditis[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Lymph node swelling[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Adacel (diphtheria/pertussis, acel/tetanus adult)." Aventis Pasteur Inc, Swiftwater, PA.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.