What is hepatitis b vaccine-injection, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Hepatitis B is easily spread through contact with blood or other fluids of an
infected person. People may also become infected from touching or coming into
contact with a contaminated object. The hepatitis B virus can live on surfaces
for up to 7 days. Some ways that people may become infected include:
- Transmission during birth from an infected
mother to her newborn
- Contact with blood or other body fluids
though breaks in the skin such as bites, cuts, or sores
- Contact with objects that have blood or body
fluids on them such as razors or toothbrushes that may themselves come into
contact with other person's blood
- Having unprotected sex with an infected
- Sharing needles used to inject illicit drugs
- Getting stuck with a previously used needle
that is contaminated
Hepatitis B can cause an acute (short term) illness, with symptoms that
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Pain in muscles, joints, and stomach
- Additionally, some patients may develop a long term (chronic) infection which
can lead to:
- Liver damage
- Liver cancer
Getting vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus is the best way to prevent
these problems. Hepatitis B vaccines are made from noninfectious parts of HBV
using recombinant DNA technology. The vaccines are sterile preparations for
intramuscular injection and contain purified inactive proteins from the surface
of HBV. The proteins can activate the immune system but cannot give rise to a
replicating virus. Viral proteins used in HBV vaccines are manufactured in yeast
cells (S. cerevisiae) using recombinant technology. Hepatitis B vaccines work by
stimulating the immune system to attack the viral proteins. When a hepatitis B
vaccine is administered, the body's immune system recognizes the viral proteins
in the vaccine as foreign, and develops antibodies against them, thus providing
immunity from future infections. In the event of HBV exposure following
vaccination, the body will already be primed to fight the infection.
The FDA approved the first HBV vaccine in 1983.
What brand names are available for hepatitis b vaccine-injection?
Recombivax HB, Engerix-B
Is hepatitis b vaccine-injection available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for hepatitis b vaccine-injection?
What are the uses for hepatitis b vaccine-injection?
Hepatitis B vaccine is used to prevent hepatitis B, a serious infection
that affects the liver.
Most children are given their first shot at birth, followed by a 2nd shot at
1-2 months of age, and a 3rd shot at 6-18 months of age. Also, anyone who is 18
years of age or younger and hasn't received the vaccine should be vaccinated.
Additionally, all unvaccinated adults at risk for
hepatitis B infection
should be vaccinated. This includes:
- Partners or people infected with hepatitis B
- Men who have sex with men
- People who inject street drugs
- People with more than one sex partner
- People with chronic liver or kidney disease
- People under the age of 60 who have
type 1 or 2 diabetes
- People with jobs that expose them to human
blood or other body fluids
- People who live with a family member infected
with hepatitis B
- Kidney dialysis patients
- People who travel to countries where
hepatitis B is common
- People with
- People who live or work in institution for
the developmentally disabled
- Anyone else who wishes to be protected from
the hepatitis B infection
What are the side effects of hepatitis b vaccine-injection?
Common side effects of HBV vaccines include:
Other reported side effects include:
- Injections site reactions
- Low blood pressure
- Back pain
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Ringing in the ears
- Hair loss
- Taste changes
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What is the dosage for hepatitis b vaccine-injection?
- Dosing for children and adolescents is 3 doses of 0.5 mL given on 0, 1, and 6
- The dose for adults is 3 doses of 1 ml given on 0, 1, and 6
Which drugs or supplements interact with hepatitis b vaccine-injection?
Patients with a weak immune system may not
fully benefit from the hepatitis B vaccine.
- Some medications may decrease the
effectiveness of the hepatitis B vaccine. Examples include fingolimod (Gilenya),
belimumab (Benlysta), anakinra (Kineret), adalimumab (Humira), infliximab
(Remicade), antineoplastic agents (anti-cancer medications), and other
- Cancer patient's receiving treatment with
anti-cancer medications and those taking immunosuppressant medications should
ask their doctor or pharmacist if the hepatitis B vaccine is right for them.
Is hepatitis b vaccine-injection safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
- There are no adequate or well-controlled trials of hepatitis B vaccine use in
pregnant women. Therefore, hepatitis B vaccine should be used during pregnancy
only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
- It is not known if the hepatitis B vaccine is excreted into human milk after
administration to the mother. The manufacturer recommends caution when given to
What else should I know about hepatitis b vaccine-injection?
What preparations of hepatitis b vaccine-injection are available?
- Suspension for injection in single does vials and syringes: Recombivax 0.5 ml
(5 mcg), 1 ml (10 mcg); Engerix-B 0.5 ml (10 mcg), 1 ml (20 mcg).
How should I keep hepatitis b vaccine-injection stored?
Hepatitis B vaccine should be stored in the refrigerator, between
2 C to 8 C (36 F to 46 F).