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All about: meningococcal conjugate vaccine

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Generic Name: meningococcal conjugate vaccine (me nin ge KAH kal KON je gate VAK seen)
Brand Names: Menactra

What is meningococcal conjugate vaccine?

Meningococcal disease is a serious infection caused by a bacteria. Meningococcal bacteria can infect the blood, spinal cord, and brain. These conditions can be fatal.

Meningococcal disease can spread from one person to another through small droplets of saliva that are expelled into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The bacteria can also be passed through contact with objects the infected person has touched, such as a door handle, or other surface. The bacteria can also be passed through kissing, or sharing a drinking glass or eating utensil with an infected person.

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by meningococcal bacteria. The vaccine contains four of the most common types of meningococcal bacteria.

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes your body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is for use in adolescents and adults between the ages of 11 and 55 years old.

Like any vaccine, meningococcal conjugate vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Becoming infected with meningitis (infection of the spinal cord and lining of the brain) is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

What is the most important information I should know about meningococcal conjugate vaccine?

Becoming infected with meningitis is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever need to receive another meningococcal vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects. Do not receive this vaccine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a meningococcal or a diphtheria vaccine, if you are allergic to latex rubber, or if you have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Before receiving meningococcal conjugate vaccine, tell your doctor if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder, a weak immune system, or if you are receiving steroids, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. If you have any of these conditions, your vaccine may need to be postponed or not given at all.

You can still receive a meningococcal conjugate vaccine if you have a minor cold. However, if you are moderately or severely ill with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you recover before receiving this vaccine.

Like any vaccine, meningococcal conjugate vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving meningococcal conjugate vaccine?

Do not receive this vaccine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a diphtheria or a meningococcal vaccine, or if you have:
  • a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome; or

  • if you are allergic to latex rubber.

Before receiving meningococcal conjugate vaccine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder, such as hemophilia;

  • any condition that weakens the immune system (such as HIV, AIDS, or cancer); or

  • if you are receiving steroids, chemotherapy, or radiation treatments.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to receive meningococcal conjugate vaccine, or you may need to wait until your condition changes or you have completed your treatments.

FDA pregnancy category C. This vaccine may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon after receiving the vaccine.

Your name may need to be listed on a registry of women who receive a meningococcal vaccine during pregnancy if you receive this vaccine while you are pregnant. The purpose of this registry is to track the outcome of your pregnancy and the birth of your child so that health department authorities are notified of any unwanted effects on the baby.

It is not known whether meningococcal conjugate vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. This vaccine should not be given to anyone younger than 11 or older than 55 years of age.

How is meningococcal conjugate vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as a shot into a muscle of your upper arm. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is recomended in the following situations:

  • for all children 11 to 18 years old;

  • for people who are in the military;

  • for laboratory workers who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria;

  • for people who live in dormitories or other group housing; and

  • for people who travel or live among certain populations where meningococcal outbreak is common.

You can still receive a meningococcal conjugate vaccine if you have a minor cold. However, if you are moderately or severely ill with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you recover before receiving this vaccine.

Your doctor may recommend using a non-aspirin pain reliever to prevent pain or fever that can occur with this vaccination. Over-the-counter pain relievers include acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, Panadol, and others) or ibuprofen (Motrin Childrens, Advil Childrens, and others). Use this medication when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Use only the dose your doctor recommends.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since meningococcal conjugate vaccine is given as a single injection, you are not likely to be on a booster schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine is not likely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after getting meningococcal conjugate vaccine?

There are usually no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity before or after receiving meningococcal conjugate vaccine.

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine side effects

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. If you ever have to receive another meningococcal vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects. Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • severe weakness or unusual feeling in your arms and legs (may occur 2 to 4 weeks after you receive the vaccine);

  • high fever; or

  • unusual bleeding.

Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • low fever, chills;

  • redness, pain, swelling, or a lump where the vaccine was injected;

  • headache, weakness, tired feeling;

  • joint pain;

  • diarrhea;

  • vomiting, loss of appetite; or

  • mild skin rash.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Contact your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect meningococcal conjugate vaccine?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines you have recently received.

Also tell the doctor if you are using a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin), or if you have recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

  • an oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine;

  • medications to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders, such as azathioprine (Imuran), efalizumab (Raptiva), etanercept (Enbrel), leflunomide (Arava), and others; or

  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection, such as basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).

If you are using any of these medications, you may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can affect meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist may have information about meningococcal conjugate vaccine written for health professionals that you may read. You may also find additional information from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. 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 drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.01. Revision Date: 08/03/2007 1:16:17 PM.

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