hepatitis A vaccine (Havrix, Vaqta)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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What is hepatitis a vaccine-injection, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Hepatitis A vaccine (Havrix, Vaqta) is used to prevent hepatitis A, a type of liver disease that is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter from contact with food, drinks, or objects which have been contaminated by feces or stool of an HAV-infected person. Hepatitis A infection can be mild with no symptoms or a serious illness that can rarely cause liver failure and death. Getting vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus is the best way to prevent these problems.

The hepatitis A vaccine does not cause hepatitis because it does not contain the live virus. It contains inactivated hepatitis A virus. The vaccine works by stimulating the body to produce antibodies, which are proteins that will fight and kill the virus and prevent hepatitis A infection.

Hepatitis A vaccine was approved in 2005.

What brand names are available for hepatitis a vaccine-injection?

Havrix, Vaqta

Is hepatitis a vaccine-injection available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

Do I need a prescription for hepatitis a vaccine-injection?

Yes

What are the side effects of hepatitis a vaccine-injection?

Mild side effects include:

Other reported side effects include:

Quick GuideHepatitis in Pictures: What Puts You at Risk?

Hepatitis in Pictures: What Puts You at Risk?

What is the dosage for hepatitis a vaccine-injection?

Hepatitis A vaccine is administered by injection into the muscle of the upper arm. Two separate shots of 0.5 ml for children and 1 ml for adults are required and should be given 6 to 12 months apart (Havrix) or 6 to 18 months apart (Vaqta). Hepatitis A vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

  • Children should be vaccinated at 12 through 23 months of age.
  • Alternatively, anyone over the age of 12 months who wishes to be protected from the hepatitis A virus can be vaccinated at any time.
  • Travelers are advised to get vaccinated at least 2 weeks before travelling.

Which drugs or supplements interact with hepatitis a vaccine-injection?

  • People with a weak immune system may not fully benefit from the vaccine.
  • Some medications may decrease the effectiveness of the hepatitis A vaccine. Examples include fingolimod (Gilenya), belimumab (Benlysta), anakinra (Kineret), adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), antineoplastic agents (anti-cancer medications), and other drugs that suppress the immune system.
  • Cancer patient's receiving treatment with anti-cancer medications and those taking immunosuppressant medications should ask their doctor or pharmacist if the hepatitis A vaccine is right for them.

Is hepatitis a vaccine-injection safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate or well-controlled trials of hepatitis A vaccine use in pregnant women. Therefore, hepatitis A vaccine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

It is not known if the hepatitis A vaccine is excreted into human milk after administration to the mother. The manufacturer recommends caution when given it to nursing mothers.

What else should I know about hepatitis a vaccine-injection?

What preparations of hepatitis a vaccine-injection are available?

Solution for administration by injection into the muscle of the upper arm.

How should I keep hepatitis a vaccine-injection stored?

Hepatitis A vaccine should be stored in the refrigerator, between 36 2 C to 8 C (36 F and 46 F).

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information

Last Editorial Review: 9/23/2015

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Reviewed on 9/23/2015
References
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information

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