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Human papillomavirus vaccine Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to human papillomavirus vaccine: intramuscular suspension

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by human papillomavirus vaccine. 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 human papillomavirus vaccine, check with your doctor or nurse immediately:

Less common:
  • Fever
Incidence not known:
  • Anxiety
  • back, leg, or stomach pains
  • bleeding gums
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • difficulty with breathing
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • general body swelling
  • headache
  • hives or welts, itching, or skin rash
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nosebleeds
  • pale skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • redness of the skin
  • seizures
  • sore throat
  • sudden shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • tenderness, pain, swelling, warmth, skin discoloration, and prominent superficial veins over affected area
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Severity: Minor

Some of the side effects that can occur with human papillomavirus vaccine 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:
  • Headache
Less common:
  • Diarrhea
  • difficulty with moving
  • joint pain
  • muscle aching or cramping
  • muscle pains or stiffness
  • sore throat
  • swollen joints
  • upper abdominal or stomach pain
  • Body aches or pain
  • ear congestion
  • loss of voice
  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
Incidence not known:
  • Bloating
  • constipation
  • darkened urine
  • difficulty with moving
  • fast heartbeat
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • pain in the joints pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to human papillomavirus vaccine: intramuscular suspension


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


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


General side effects have included fever, dizziness, malaise, and insomnia. Postmarketing reports have included asthenia and fatigue.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects have included cough, nasal congestion, nasopharyngitis, and upper respiratory tract infection.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects have included myalgia and arthralgia.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Gardasil (human papillomavirus vaccine)." Merck & Company Inc, West Point, PA.

Not all side effects for human papillomavirus vaccine 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.