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All about: Pneumovax 23

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Generic Name: Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent (NEU-mo-KOK-al)
Brand Name: Pneumovax 23

Pneumovax 23 is used for:

Preventing certain infections.

Pneumovax 23 is a vaccine. It works by stimulating the body to make antibodies to Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.

Do NOT use Pneumovax 23 if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Pneumovax 23

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Pneumovax 23 :

Some medical conditions may interact with Pneumovax 23 . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a fever, heart problems, a lung or breathing problem, or an infection
  • if you have cancer, are receiving medicines that weaken the immune system, or are scheduled for an organ or bone marrow transplant
  • if you have a history of skull fracture, brain surgery, or a genetic brain disorder

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Pneumovax 23 . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Medicines that decrease the immune response such as corticosteroids (eg, hydrocortisone) or cancer medicines because the effectiveness of Pneumovax 23 may be decreased
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because side effects, such as bleeding at the injection site, may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Pneumovax 23 may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Pneumovax 23 :

Use Pneumovax 23 as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Pneumovax 23 is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using Pneumovax 23 at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Pneumovax 23 , contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Pneumovax 23 .

Important safety information:

  • Before you are given Pneumovax 23 , a health care provider should inform you of the benefits and risks.
  • Pneumovax 23 may be given on the same day as the flu vaccine. Unlike the flu vaccine, which is given each year, Pneumovax 23 is usually given only once. However, certain people at high risk of pneumococcal infection (eg, those with a weakened immune system) may need to receive a second dose. The second dose is usually given at least 3 years after the first dose.
  • Be sure that it is in all of your medical records that you have received Pneumovax 23 . Make sure your doctor has a complete record of your vaccinations and is aware of your current health status.
  • Pneumovax 23 may not protect all individuals from invasive pneumonia. It will not protect against pneumonia or other infections caused by organisms not related to those in this vaccine.
  • Pneumovax 23 is not recommended for use in the ELDERLY or other adults and should not be used as a substitute for the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for the elderly.
  • Pneumovax 23 is not recommended for CHILDREN younger than 2 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is unknown if Pneumovax 23 can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant while taking Pneumovax 23 , discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Pneumovax 23 during pregnancy. It is unknown if Pneumovax 23 is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using Pneumovax 23 , check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Pneumovax 23 :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Fever; redness, soreness, swelling, or a lump at the injection site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Pneumovax 23 :

Store in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not use past the expiration date. Keep Pneumovax 23 out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Pneumovax 23 , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Pneumovax 23 is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Pneumovax 23 . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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