Pneumovax

Uses For Pneumovax 23

Pneumococcal vaccine polyvalent is an active immunizing agent used to prevent infection by pneumococcal bacteria. It works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the disease.

The following information applies only to the polyvalent 23 pneumococcal vaccine. Other polyvalent pneumococcal vaccines may be available in countries other than the U.S.

Pneumococcal infection can cause serious problems, such as pneumonia, which affects the lungs; meningitis, which affects the brain; bacteremia, which is a severe infection in the blood; and possibly death. These problems are more likely to occur in older adults and persons with certain diseases or conditions that make them more susceptible to a pneumococcal infection or more apt to develop serious problems from a pneumococcal infection.

Unless otherwise contraindicated, immunization against pneumococcal disease is recommended for all adults and children 2 years of age and older, especially:

  • Older adults, especially those 65 years of age and older.
  • Adults and children 2 to 64 years of age with chronic illnesses.
  • Adults and children 2 to 64 years of age with sickle cell disease, those with spleen problems or without spleens, and those who are to have their spleens removed.
  • Adults and children 2 to 64 years of age who are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease because of another illness (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, asthma, diabetes, alcoholism, liver disease, or kidney disease). People who smoke cigarettes should also receive the vaccine.
  • Adults and children 2 to 64 years of age who are living in special environments or social settings (e.g., Alaskan Natives and certain American Indian populations), and residents of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities.
  • Adults and children 2 to 64 years of age with decreased disease-fighting ability (e.g., those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, organ or bone marrow transplantations, and cancer).

Immunization against pneumococcal infection is not recommended for infants and children younger than 2 years of age, because these persons cannot produce enough antibodies to the vaccine to protect them against a pneumococcal infection.

Pneumococcal vaccine is usually given only once to each person. Additional injections are only given for special cases, because of the possibility of more frequent and more severe side effects.

This vaccine is to be administered only by or under the supervision of your doctor or other health care professional.

Before Using Pneumovax 23

In deciding to use a vaccine, the risks of taking the vaccine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this vaccine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Use of pneumococcal vaccine is not recommended in infants and children younger than 2 years of age. In children 2 years of age and older, this vaccine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults.

Geriatric

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of pneumococcal vaccine in the elderly with use in other age groups, this vaccine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this vaccine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Receiving this vaccine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Varicella Virus Vaccine

Receiving this vaccine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Rituximab

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Previous severe reaction to the vaccine or
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura (blood disorder)—Use of pneumococcal vaccine may make these conditions worse.
  • Severe illness with fever—The symptoms of the illness may be confused with possible side effects of the vaccine.

Proper Use of pneumococcal vaccine polyvalent

This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain pneumococcal vaccine polyvalent. It may not be specific to Pneumovax 23. Please read with care.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

For injection dosage form, for prevention of pneumococcal pneumonia:

  • Adults and children 2 years of age and older—One dose injected under the skin or into a muscle.
  • Children younger than 2 years of age—Use is not recommended.

Precautions While Using Pneumovax 23

If you have more than one doctor, be sure they all know that you have received pneumococcal vaccine polyvalent 23 so that they can put the information into your medical records. This vaccine is usually given only once to each person, except in special cases.

Pneumovax 23 Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Rare

  • Fever over 102.2 °F (39 °C)

Symptoms of allergic reaction

  • Difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  • hives
  • itching, especially of the feet or hands
  • reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
  • swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
  • unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Redness, soreness, hard lump, swelling, or pain at the place of injection

 

Less common or rare

  • Aches or pain in the joints or muscles
  • fever of 101 °F (38.3 °C) or less
  • skin rash
  • swollen glands
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vague feeling of bodily discomfort

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

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