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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Twinrix

Generic Name: hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine (Pronunciation: HEP a TYE tis)

What is hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine (Twinrix)?

Hepatitis A and B are serious diseases caused by virus.

Hepatitis A is spread through contact with the stool (bowel movements) of a person infected with the hepatitis A virus. This usually occurs by eating food or drinking water that has become contaminated as a result of handling by an infected person.

Hepatitis B 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.

The hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine is used to help prevent these diseases. The vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Vaccination with hepatitis A and hepatitis B is recommended for all adults who are at risk of getting hepatitis A or 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 either hepatitis A or B infection.

Like any vaccine, the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What are the possible side effects of this vaccine (Twinrix)?

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 this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with hepatitis A or B is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against these diseases. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but 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:

Less serious side effects include:

  • redness, pain, tenderness, swelling, or a hard lump where the shot was given;
  • headache, tired feeling;
  • mild fever;
  • runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, other cold symptoms; or
  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine (Twinrix)?

You should not receive this vaccine if you are allergic to yeast or neomycin (Mycafradin, Neo-Fradin, Neo-Tab), or if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis A or hepatitis B.

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor if you have multiple sclerosis, a bleeding or blood clotting disorder, seizures, a weak immune system, if you are taking a blood thinner, or if you are allergic to rubber.

Vaccination with hepatitis A and hepatitis B is recommended for all adults who are at risk of getting hepatitis A or 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 either hepatitis A or B infection.

Be sure you receive all recommended doses of this vaccine. If you do not receive the full series of vaccines, you may not be fully protected against the disease.

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

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

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with hepatitis A or B is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against these diseases. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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From WebMD