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All about: rabies vaccine

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Generic Name: rabies vaccine (ray BEES vack seen)
Brand Names: Imovax Rabies (obsolete), Imovax Rabies I.D. (obsolete), RabAvert (obsolete), Rabies Vaccine (obsolete)

What is rabies vaccine?

Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus. Rabies is mainly a disease of animals. Humans get rabies when they are bitten by an infected animal. There may be no symptoms at first, but weeks or even years after a bite from an infected animal, rabies can cause pain, fatigue, headaches, irritability, fever, seizures, hallucinations, and paralysis. Rabies can be fatal.

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

People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Those who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting rabies vaccine. However, if you have been exposed to the rabies virus, you should get the vaccine regardless of any other illnesses you may have.

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

Tell your doctor if you have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the rabies vaccine or a component of the vaccine.

People at high risk of exposure to rabies include veterinarians, animal handlers, rabies laboratory workers, spelunkers, rabies biologics production workers, or anyone who is likely to come in contact with infected animals or the virus itself. These people should be offered rabies vaccine.

Before receiving rabies vaccine, talk to your doctor if you:

  • have HIV or AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system;

  • are taking an antimalarial drug;

  • are taking a medication that affects the immune system (e.g. steroids, anti-rejection medications);

  • have cancer; or

  • are receiving cancer treatment with x-rays, radiation, or medication.

Ask your healthcare provider for more information. Rabies vaccine may not be recommended in some cases.

People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Those who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting rabies vaccine. However, if you have been exposed to the rabies virus, you should get the vaccine regardless of any other illnesses you may have.

Talk to your doctor before receiving rabies vaccine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.

How is rabies vaccine administered?

Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will administer the rabies vaccine as an injection.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Talk to your doctor if you miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of rabies vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after getting rabies vaccine?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity before or after receiving rabies vaccine.

Rabies vaccine side effects

Getting rabies disease is much riskier than getting rabies vaccine. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of rabies vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately if any of the following rare but serious side effects from rabies vaccine are experienced:
  • a serious allergic reaction including swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; hives; paleness; weakness; dizziness; or a fast heart beat within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot;

  • high fever; or

  • behavior changes.

Some people who get rabies vaccine get a sore spot where the shot was given.

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 rabies vaccine?

Talk to your doctor before receiving rabies vaccine if you are taking any of the following medications that may affect the immune system:

  • an oral or injectable steroid medication such as betamethasone (Celestone), cortisone (Cortone), dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisolone (Prelone, Pediapred), prednisone (Orasone, Deltasone, others), or triamcinolone (Aristocort);

  • an inhaled or nasal steroid such as beclomethasone (Qvar, Beclovent, Beconase, Vanceril, Vancenase), budesonide (Pulmicort, Rhinocort), flunisolide (Aerobid, Nasalide, Nasarel), fluticasone (Flovent, Flonase), mometasone (Nasonex), or triamcinolone (Azmacort, Nasacort);

  • treatment for cancer with chemotherapy (medication), radiation, or x-rays;

  • azathioprine (Imuran);

  • basiliximab (Simulect);

  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf);

  • etanercept (Enbrel);

  • leflunomide (Arava);

  • muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone);

  • mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept);

  • sirolimus (Rapamune); or

  • tacrolimus (Prograf).

Other drugs may affect rabies vaccine, talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist may have additional information or suggest additional resources regarding rabies vaccine.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • 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: 1.02. Revision Date: 6/14/06 2:27:23 PM.

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