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Engerix-B

What is Engerix-B

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a serious disease caused by a virus. HBV is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person. A person can get infected in several ways, such as: by having unprotected sex with an infected person; by sharing needles when injecting illegal drugs; by being stuck with a used needle on the job; and during birth when the virus passes from an infected mother to her baby. Engerix-B exposes the individual to a small amount of the virus (or to a protein from the virus) and causes the body to develop immunity to the disease.

Hepatitis B infection can cause short-term (acute) illness that leads to loss of appetite; diarrhea and vomiting; tiredness; jaundice (yellow skin or eyes); or pain in the muscles, joints, and stomach. It can also cause long-term (chronic) illness that can lead to liver damage (cirrhosis), liver cancer, and death. About 1.25 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis B infection.

Vaccination with Engerix-B is recommended for all children younger than 18 years of age. Vaccination is also recommended for adults over 18 who are at risk due to: having more than one sex partner in 6 months; male homosexuality; sex contact of infected people; injection of illegal drugs; healthcare and public safety workers who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids; household contacts of persons with chronic HBV infection; and hemodialysis patients.

Engerix-B can help prevent the disease. Many more people would get the disease if vaccination did not occur.

General medical information about Engerix-B

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 Engerix-B.

What you should discuss with your doctor before receiving Engerix-B

Anyone who had a life-threatening allergic reaction to baker's yeast (the kind used for making bread) or after receiving a dose of Engerix-B should not get another dose.

Before receiving Engerix-B, talk to your doctor if you:
- have HIV or AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system;
- 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. Engerix-B 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 Engerix-B.

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

How is Engerix-B administered

Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will administer the Engerix-B as an injection.

An infant whose mother is infected with HBV should receive the first dose of the vaccine within 12 hours of birth, a second dose at 1-2 months of age, and a third dose at 6 months of age.

An infant whose mother is not infected with HBV should receive the first dose of the vaccine from birth to 2 months of age, a second dose from 1-4 months of age (at least one month after the first dose), and a third dose at 6-18 months of age.

An older child, adolescent, or adult should receive the first dose of the vaccine anytime, a second dose 1-2 months after the first dose, and a third dose 4-6 months after the first dose. Adolescents 11-15 years of age may need only two doses of hepatitis B vaccine, separate by 4-6 months. Ask your healthcare provider for details.

HBV may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Your doctor may recommend reducing fever and pain by taking an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, others) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Your healthcare provider can tell you the appropriate dosages of these medications.

If you miss a dose:

Contact your doctor if a dose of Engerix-B is missed or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

What happens if you overdose:

An overdose of Engerix-B is unlikely to occur.

What should you avoid before or after getting Engerix-B

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity before or after receiving Engerix-B.

Possible side effects of Engerix-B

Getting hepatitis B disease is much riskier than getting HBV vaccine. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of Engerix-B 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 Engerix-B 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.

Other less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience:
- mild to moderate fever (up to 1 out of 14 children and adolescents, and 1 out of 100 adults); or
- soreness

Where the shot was given, lasting a day or two (up to 1 out of 11 children and adolescents, and about 1 out of 4 adults).

Your doctor may recommend reducing fever and pain by taking an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, others) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Your healthcare provider can tell you the appropriate dosages of these medications..

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 Engerix-B

Talk to your doctor before receiving Engerix-B 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).

Engerix-B can be given at the same time as other vaccinations.

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