Zostavax Side Effects
Generic Name: zoster vaccine live
Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug zoster vaccine live. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Zostavax.
For the Consumer
Applies to zoster vaccine live: parenteral for injection for sub-q use
Side effects include:
Injection site reactions (erythema, pain/tenderness, swelling, pruritus, warmth, hematoma, induration), headache, extremity pain.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to zoster vaccine live: subcutaneous powder for injection
The most common adverse events were headache and injection site reactions.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Injection site pain (up to 53.9%), injection site erythema (48.1%), injection site swelling (40.4%), pruritus (11.3%)
Common (1% to 10%): Warmth, hematoma, induration
Postmarketing reports: Injection site rash, injection site urticaria, transient injection site lymphadenopathy[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Headache, asthenia[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Death, fever, asthenia[Ref]
The most common reported cause of death was cardiovascular disease (10 in the vaccine group, 8 in the placebo group). The overall incidence of death occurring at any time during the study was similar between groups: 793 deaths (4.1%) in the vaccine group and 795 deaths (4.1%) in the placebo group.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Congestive heart failure or pulmonary edema[Ref]
Congestive heart failure or pulmonary edema occurred in 1.5% of patients receiving the vaccine versus 1.2% of patients receiving placebo in the AE monitoring substudy.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Respiratory infection, flu syndrome, rhinitis, respiratory disorder
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Asthma exacerbation[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea
Postmarketing reports: Nausea[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Skin disorder
Rare (less than 0.1%): Non-injection site varicella-type rash, non-injection site zoster-like rash
Postmarketing reports: Rash[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Pain in extremity
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Polymyalgia rheumatica
Postmarketing reports: Arthralgia, myalgia[Ref]
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Anaphylactic reaction
Postmarketing reports: Hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylactic reactions[Ref]
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Varicella
Postmarketing reports: Herpes zoster (vaccine strain)[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Lymphadenopathy[Ref]
Postmarketing reports: Necrotizing retinitis (patients on immunosuppressive therapy)[Ref]
1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
3. "Product Information. Zostavax (zoster vaccine live)." Merck & Company Inc, West Point, PA.
It is possible that some side effects of Zostavax may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.
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