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Bcg Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of bcg include: urinary tract infection, detrusor hyperreflexia of bladder, fever, hematuria, urinary frequency, urinary urgency, vomiting, chills, and malaise. Other side effects include: arthralgia. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to bcg: intradermal powder for solution

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by bcg. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

More common:
  • Accumulation of pus
  • peeling or scaling of the skin
  • sores at place of injection
  • sores at different sites of the skin
  • swollen lymph glands
  • Cough
  • fever
  • increase in bone pain
  • skin rash

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to bcg: intravesical powder for reconstitution, percutaneous powder for injection


Genitourinary side effects including dysuria (54%), urinary frequency (40%), hematuria (39%), cystitis (29%), urinary tract infection (18%), urgency (18%), genital pain (10%), urinary incontinence (6%), cramps (6%), and contracted bladder (5%) were most commonly reported.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects including malaise (40%) and arthralgia/myalgia (7%) have been reported.[Ref]


Hematologic side effects including anemia (21%), leukopenia (5%), and coagulopathy (3%) have been reported.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea/vomiting (16%), anorexia (11%), diarrhea (6%), and abdominal pain (3%) have been reported.[Ref]


General side effects including fever (38%), chills (34%), and headache (2%) have been reported.[Ref]


Immunologic side effects including systemic infection (3%) and pulmonary infection (3%) have been reported. Four cases of immune reconstitution syndrome have also been reported.[Ref]


Renal side effects including renal toxicity (10%) have been reported.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects including skin rash (2%) have been rarely reported.[Ref]


Unclassified cardiovascular side effects were infrequently reported (3%).[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Tice BCG Vaccine (BCG vaccine)." Organon, West Orange, NJ.

2. Puthanakit T, Oberdorfer P, Punjaisee S, Wannarit P, Sirisanthana T, Sirisanthana V "Immune Reconstitution Syndrome Due to Bacillus Calmette-Guerin after Initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy in Children with HIV Infection." Clin Infect Dis 41 (2005): 1049-1052

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

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