Engerix

What is Engerix-B?

Engerix-B is used to help prevent Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is a viral disease of the liver that is spread through blood or bodily fluids, sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles with an infected person, or during childbirth when a baby is born to a mother who is infected. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, or death.

Engerix-B works by exposing you to a small amount of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. Engerix-B will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Vaccination with Engerix-B is recommended for all adults and children who are at risk of getting hepatitis B. Risk factors include: having more than one sex partner in 6 months; being a homosexual male; having sexual contact with infected people; having cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis C; using intravenous (IV) drugs; being on dialysis or receiving blood transfusions; working in healthcare or public safety and being exposed to infected blood or body fluids; being in the military or traveling to high-risk areas; and living with a person who has chronic hepatitis B infection.

Like any vaccine, the Engerix-B may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Important information about Engerix-B

Engerix-B will not protect against infection with hepatitis A, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis B if you are already infected with the virus, even if you do not yet show symptoms.

Engerix-B is given in a series of shots. The booster shots are sometimes given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot. If you have a high risk of hepatitis B infection, you may be given an additional booster 2 months after the first shot.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

Be sure to receive all recommended doses of Engerix-B. You may not be fully protected if you do not receive the full series.

You can still receive Engerix-B vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving Engerix-B.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving Engerix-B. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell your doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with hepatitis B is much more dangerous to your health than receiving Engerix-B. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Before receiving Engerix-B

Engerix-B will not protect against infection with hepatitis A, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis B if you are already infected with the virus, even if you do not yet show symptoms.

You should not receive Engerix-B if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis B, or if you are allergic to baker's yeast. You also should not receive Engerix-B if you have received cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatment in the past 3 months.

If you have any of these other conditions, your Engerix-B shot may need to be postponed or not given at all:

  • multiple sclerosis;
  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising;
  • a history of seizures;
  • a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine);
  • an allergy to latex rubber;
  • a weak immune system caused by disease, bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments; or
  • if you are taking a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving Engerix-B.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Engerix-B will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while receiving the series of Engerix-B vaccine injections. It is not known whether hepatitis B vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not receive Engerix-B without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

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