Combination Vaccine for Hepatitis A and B
How It Works
Twinrix is a vaccine that provides active immunity against both the hepatitis A and hepatitis B viruses. It is given in a series of 3 injections on the same schedule as the hepatitis B vaccine: an initial dose followed by doses at 1 month and 6 months. It can also be given in 4 doses, with the initial dose followed by doses at 7 days, 21 to 30 days, and 12 months.
Why It Is Used
This combination vaccine can prevent both hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection with only one series of injections. People get the vaccines together rather than separately. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use only for people age 18 or older who are at risk of infection with HAV and HBV. These include people who:
How Well It Works
In clinical trials, 1 month after the last dose, 100% of people were immune to hepatitis A, while 99.7% were immune to hepatitis B.2 But in practice, immunity may not approach these levels. Hepatitis B vaccine usually does not provide immunity for more than 95% to 97% of people.
Immunity to the hepatitis B virus is thought to be lifelong. The hepatitis A vaccine is effective for at least 25 years in adults and 14 years in children.3
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of the Twinrix vaccine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Twinrix should not be given to people who are allergic to the contents of the vaccine.
To get the best protection before travel, you need 2 doses of Twinrix before departure. But if you can get only 1 dose, consider getting just the hepatitis A vaccine instead of 1 shot of combination vaccine. It may provide better protection against hepatitis A.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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