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All about: Prevnar

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Prevnar

Category

  • Immunizing agent, active

Description

Pneumococcal((NEU-mo-KOK-al)) conjugate vaccine is an active immunizing agent used to prevent infection by pneumococcal bacteria. It works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the disease.

Pneumococcal infection can cause serious problems, such as pneumonia, which affects the lungs; meningitis, which affects the brain; and bacteremia, which is a severe infection in the blood. Pneumococcal infection is also an important cause of ear infections in children.

Unless otherwise contraindicated, immunization against pneumococcal disease is recommended for infants and young children.

Immunization requires 1 to 4 doses of the vaccine, depending on the age at the first dose. This vaccine can be given at the same time as other routine vaccinations.

This vaccine is to 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 pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if your child has ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to pneumococcal vaccine, diphtheria toxoid, or latex. Also tell your doctor and pharmacist if your child is allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives.

Pregnancy—Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals. This vaccine is not recommended for use in pregnant women.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether pneumococcal vaccine passes into breast milk.

Children—This vaccine is generally well tolerated and effective in infants. The safety and effectiveness in infants below 6 weeks of age has not been established.

Older adults—This vaccine is not recommended for use in adult populations.

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. Tell your health care professional if your child is receiving any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Proper Use of This Medicine

Dosing—The number of injections your child will receive for protection from pneumococcal infection will depend on your child's age at the first dose:

  • Children 6 weeks to 6 months of age—4 doses
  • Children 7 to 11 months of age—3 doses
  • Children 12 to 23 months of age—2 doses
  • Children 2 years through 9 years of age—1 dose
  • Children older than 9 years of age—Use of this vaccine is not recommended in this age group.

Your doctor will tell you when your child should receive the next dose.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

If your child has more than one doctor, be sure they all know that your child has received pneumococcal conjugated vaccine so that they can put the information into your child's medical records.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine 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

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 the following side effects occur:

Less common

Fever over 39 °C (102.2 °F)

Rare

Collapse or shock-like state; convulsions

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome.

More common

Decreased appetite; diarrhea; drowsiness; fever of less than 39 °C (102.2 °F); irritability; redness, soreness, hard lump, swelling, or pain at injection site ; restless sleep; vomiting

Less common

Skin rash or hives

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

Developed: 05/05/2000

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