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RabAvert Side Effects

Generic Name: rabies vaccine, purified chick embryo cell

Note: This document contains side effect information about rabies vaccine, purified chick embryo cell. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name RabAvert.

For the Consumer

Applies to rabies vaccine, purified chick embryo cell: intramuscular injectable, intramuscular suspension reconstituted

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of meningitis like headache with fever, stiff neck, upset stomach, confusion, or if lights bother your eyes.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Not able to move face muscles as much.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Not able to move.
  • Very bad headache.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Swollen gland.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Irritation where the shot is given.
  • Flu-like signs. These include headache, weakness, fever, shakes, aches, pains, and sweating.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Dizziness.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to rabies vaccine, purified chick embryo cell: intramuscular powder for injection


Hypersensitivity side effects have included anaphylaxis, type III hypersensitivity-like reactions, bronchospasm, urticaria, pruritus, and edema.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included dizziness, transient paresthesias, neuroparalysis, encephalitis, meningitis, transient paralysis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, myelitis, retrobulbar neuritis, multiple sclerosis, vertigo, and visual disturbance. The use of corticosteroids to treat life-threatening neuroparalytic reactions may inhibit the development of immunity to rabies.[Ref]


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


Cardiovascular side effects have included palpitations and hot flush.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included rash and one case of suspected urticaria pigmentosa.[Ref]


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


Other side effects have included flu-like symptoms such as asthenia, fatigue, fever, headache, myalgia, and malaise; and lymphadenopathy, sweating, and chills.[Ref]


The most common side effects have included local injection site reactions in up to 45% of patients. The most common systemic reactions have included malaise, headache, and dizziness in up to 25% of patients. Rabies prophylaxis should not be interrupted or discontinued because of local or mild systemic reactions. These reactions usually can be managed with antipyretics and anti-inflammatories.

The risk of developing a potentially fatal rabies infection should be considered before making the decision to discontinue rabies vaccination when severe anaphylactic or neuroparalytic reactions occur. The State Health Department or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be consulted for advice on managing serious reactions.

Adverse reactions should be reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Reporting forms and information regarding the completion of the form can be obtained at 1-800-822-7967 (USA).[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Imovax Rabies (rabies vaccine)." sanofi pasteur, Swiftwater, PA.

2. "Product Information. RabAvert (rabies vaccine, purified chick embryo cell)." Chiron Corporation, Emeryville, CA.

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.

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