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Adacel (Tdap) Side Effects

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

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

For the Consumer

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

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid, check with your doctor or nurse immediately:

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

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

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


Local side effects have included injection site pain, swelling, and erythema.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects have included sore and swollen joints, body aches, muscle weakness, and lymph node swelling.[Ref]


General side effects have included headache, fever, chills, and tiredness.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included rash, pruritus, and urticaria.[Ref]


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

Not all side effects for Adacel (Tdap) may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.