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All about: M-R-VAX II

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • M-R-VAX II

Generic name product may be available in Canada.

Not commercially available in Canada.

Category

  • Immunizing agent, active

Description

Measles and rubella (MEE-zills and rue-BELL-a)virus vaccine live is an active immunizing agent used to prevent infection by the measles and rubella viruses. It works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the viruses.

Measles (also known as coughing measles, hard measles, morbilli, red measles, rubeola, and 10-day measles) is an infection that is easily spread from one person to another. Infection with measles can cause serious problems, such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus problems, convulsions (seizures), brain damage, and possibly death. The risk of serious complications and death is greater for adults and infants than for children and teenagers.

Rubella (also known as German measles) is a serious infection that causes miscarriages, stillbirths, or birth defects in unborn babies when pregnant women get the disease.

While immunization against measles and rubella is recommended for all persons 12 months of age and older, it is especially important for women of childbearing age and persons traveling outside the U.S.

If measles and rubella vaccine is to be given to a child, the child should be at least 12 months of age. This is to make sure the measles vaccine is effective. In a younger child, antibodies from the mother may prevent the vaccine from working.

This vaccine should be administered only by or under the supervision of your doctor or other health care professional. It is available in the following dosage form:

  • Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S.)

Before Receiving This Vaccine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For measles and rubella vaccine, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to measles and rubella vaccine, to the antibiotic neomycin, or to gelatin. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives.

Pregnancy—Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant within 3 months after receiving this vaccine. Although adequate studies have not been done in either humans or animals, and problems have not been shown to occur, use of measles and rubella vaccine during pregnancy, or becoming pregnant within 3 months after receiving the measles and rubella vaccine, is not recommended. Because the natural measles infection has been shown to increase the chance of birth defects and other problems, it is thought that the live virus vaccine might cause similar problems. Rubella vaccine crosses the placenta. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitored over 200 women who received the vaccine within 3 months before or after becoming pregnant, and those women gave birth to normal babies.

Breast-feeding—Rubella vaccine virus passes into breast milk. However, this vaccine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children—Use of this vaccine is not recommended for infants younger than 12 months of age, unless the risk of measles infection is high. Waiting until children are at least 12 months of age is important because antibodies that infants receive from their mothers before birth may interfere with the effectiveness of the vaccine. In addition, there may be special reasons why children between 6 months and 12 months of age also may require measles vaccination.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Before you receive measles and rubella vaccine, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you have received any of the following:

  • Cancer medicines or
  • X-ray treatment—May reduce the useful effect of the vaccine

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of measles and rubella vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Immune deficiency condition (or family history of)—Condition may increase the chance and severity of side effects of the vaccine and/or may decrease the useful effects of the vaccine
  • Severe illness with fever—The symptoms of the condition may be confused with the possible side effects of the vaccine

Proper Use of This Vaccine

Dosing—The following information includes only the average dose of measles and rubella vaccine.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • For prevention of measles and rubella:
      • Adults and children 12 months of age and older—One dose injected under the skin.
      • Children up to 12 months of age—Use is not recommended.

Precautions After Receiving This Vaccine

Do not become pregnant for 3 months after receiving measles and rubella vaccine without first checking with your doctor . There may be a chance that this vaccine can cause birth defects.

Tell your doctor that you have received this vaccine:

  • If you are to receive a tuberculin skin test within 4 to 6 weeks after receiving this vaccine. The results of the test may be affected by this vaccine.
  • If you are to receive blood products or immune globulins within 14 days of receiving this vaccine.
  • If you are to receive this vaccine within 3 to 11 months of receiving blood products or immune globulins

Side Effects of This Vaccine

Along with its needed effects, a vaccine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Symptoms of allergic reaction—rare

Difficulty in breathing or swallowing; hives; itching, especially of feet or hands; reddening of skin, especially around ears; swelling of eyes, face, or inside of nose; unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Fever over 103 °F (39.4 °C)

Less common

Pain or tenderness of eyes

Rare

Bruising or purple spots on skin; confusion; convulsions (seizures); double vision; headache (severe or continuing); irritability; pain, numbness, or tingling of hands, arms, legs, or feet; stiff neck; vomiting

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Burning or stinging at place of injection; fever between 100 and 103 °F (37.7 and 39.4 °C); skin rash; swelling of glands in neck

Less common

Aches or pain in joints; headache (mild); itching, swelling, redness, tenderness, or hard lump at place of injection; nausea; runny nose; sore throat; vague feeling of bodily discomfort

The above side effects (especially aches or pain in joints) are more likely to occur in adults, particularly women.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Revised: 04/29/1997

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