The prescription drug Havrix is an injectable vaccine that provides protection against the virus that causes hepatitis A. It works by exposing the body to a weakened form of the virus, which causes a specific immune system response. The vaccine can be given to children as young as one year old. Commonly reported side effects include soreness at the injection site and nausea.
(Click Havrix Uses for more information on what the vaccine is used for, including possible off-label indications.)
Thimerosal Content and Other Concerns
Havrix 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. This vaccine contains 0.5 mg of aluminum per mL per adult dose and 0.25 mg of aluminum per pediatric dose.
Havrix is not made from animal components, unlike some vaccines. However, it is grown in a line of cells originally developed from lung tissue of an aborted human fetus.
Who Makes Havrix?
Havrix is made by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals.
How Does It Work?
Havrix contains inactivated (killed) hepatitis viruses. Because this vaccine is not "live," there is no chance that a person could get hepatitis A from it.
Simply stated, Havrix allows the body to be exposed to the hepatitis A virus without risking the actual disease. The body produces antibodies 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):
Havrix [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals;2009 August.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: hepatitis A vaccine (3/21/06). CDC Web site. Available at: http://cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-hep-a.pdf. Accessed September 22, 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 22, 2009.
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