Engerix-B is a hepatitis B vaccine that can be used in people of any age. It is typically given as three or four injections, depending on your age and the required dosage. Because it is not a "live" vaccine, this product cannot cause hepatitis B. Common side effects include fever, fatigue, dizziness, and drowsiness.
(Click Engerix-B Uses for more information on what the vaccine is used for, including possible off-label indications.)
Thimerosal Content and Other Concerns
Engerix-B does not contain thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative. People who are concerned about exposure to this substance can be confident that this vaccine has no thimerosal -- not even trace amounts.
Some people also are concerned about the aluminum content of vaccines. The pediatric version of this vaccine (used for children and teens) contains 0.25 mg of aluminum per dose, while the adult version contains 0.5 mg per dose.
This vaccine is not made from human fetal components or animal components, unlike some vaccines.
Who Makes Engerix-B?
Engerix-B is made by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals.
How Does Engerix-B Work?
This vaccine contains hepatitis B surface antigens, which are proteins on the outer surface of the virus that can be recognized by the immune system. Unlike older versions of the hepatitis vaccine, currently available vaccines (including Engerix-B) are not made using human blood products. Instead, they are made using recombinant DNA technology. Engerix-B is not "live," so there is absolutely no chance that a person could get hepatitis B from this vaccine.
Simply stated, this vaccine "tricks" the body into thinking it has been exposed to the hepatitis B virus. The body produces antibodies in response that will help fight infection if future exposure occurs.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Engerix-B [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline; 2009 August.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: hepatitis B vaccine (7/18/07). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/Pubs/vis/downloads/vis-hep-b.pdf. Accessed September 2, 2009.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed September 2, 2009.
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