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All about: rabies vaccine, human diploid cell

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Generic Name: rabies vaccine, human diploid cell (RAY beez vax EEN, HYOO man DY ploid sel)
Brand Names: Imovax Rabies

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.

Rabies human diploid cell vaccine is used to prevent rabies in people who have been bitten by an animal or otherwise exposed to the rabies virus.

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

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive another vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects. Getting rabies disease is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects. The risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

You can still receive a rabies vaccine if you have a cold or other minor illness. If you have a more severe illness with a fever, wait until you recover before receiving this vaccine. However, if you have been bitten by an infected animal or otherwise exposed to the rabies virus, you should receive the rabies vaccine regardless of having another illness.

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

Do not receive this vaccine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a rabies vaccine.

You are more likely to be exposed to the rabies virus if you are a veterinarian, animal handler, rabies laboratory worker, or may otherwise come into contact with animals that could possibly carry the virus (including cats, dogs, foxes, skunks, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, and bats). Travel to certain countries may also increase your risk of exposure to rabies.

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

  • any type of infection or severe illness;

  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection;

  • a weak immune system caused by disease or by taking certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments; or

  • if you are taking medicine to treat or prevent malaria.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to receive this vaccine.

You can still receive a rabies vaccine if you have a cold or other minor illness. If you have a more severe illness with a fever, wait until you recover before receiving this vaccine. However, if you have been bitten by an infected animal or otherwise exposed to the rabies virus, you should receive the rabies vaccine regardless of having another illness.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether rabies 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.

How is rabies vaccine given?

Rabies human diploid cell vaccine is given as an injection into a muscle. You will receive this injection in your doctor's office or other clinic setting. A doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection.

For preventing rabies if you are at risk of exposure, you will need to receive a total of 3 injections. The second injection is usually given 7 days after the first, followed by a third injection 2 or 3 weeks later.

Depending on your risk of exposure to rabies, you may need to receive the rabies vaccine series every 2 years. If you work around live rabies virus, such as in a laboratory or a vaccine production area, you may need to receive a booster rabies vaccine every 6 months.

For treating rabies after you have been bitten or exposed, you will need to receive a total of 6 injections. The injections are usually given on Days 0, 3, 7, 14, 30, and 90. At the beginning of your treatment you may also receive a second injection with a rabies anti-serum or immune globulin (im-YOON GLOB-yoo-lin). This medicine is sometimes injected into or near the bite wound or injury where the rabies virus is likely to have entered your body.

Follow your doctor's instructions for your injection schedule.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss an appointment to receive your rabies vaccine.

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

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive another vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects. Getting rabies disease is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects. The risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

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:
  • fever, chills, weakness, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • joint pain; or

  • vomiting.

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

  • pain, swelling, itching, or redness where the shot was given;

  • headache;

  • dizziness;

  • muscle pain; or

  • nausea, stomach pain.

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?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • chemotherapy or radiation cancer treatments;

  • cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf);

  • sirolimus (Rapamune), tacrolimus (Prograf);

  • basiliximab (Simulect), efalizumab (Raptiva), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone);

  • mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept);

  • azathioprine (Imuran), leflunomide (Arava), etanercept (Enbrel);

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

  • 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).

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to receive rabies vaccine, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect rabies vaccine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, and other vaccines you receive. 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 additional information about rabies vaccine. You may also find additional information from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • 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: 1.01. Revision Date: 8/10/06 12:41:23 PM.

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