Zostavax

Generic Name: Zoster Vaccine Live

  • What is Zostavax?

    Zostavax is a vaccine that is used for adults ≥50 years to prevent shingles (painful rash caused by chickenpox virus).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Zostavax?

    Zostavax may not protect everyone who receives the vaccine and it cannot be used to treat shingles once you have it. If you do get shingles, see your doctor within the first few days of getting the rash.

  • Who should not take Zostavax?

    You should not receive Zostavax if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients; have a disease or condition that causes a weakened immune system, such as an immune deficiency, leukemia, lymphoma, or HIV/AIDS; or are taking high doses of steroids by injection or by mouth. Also, pregnant women should not receive Zostavax.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Zostavax?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Zostavax. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have had shingles, are currently exposed to chickenpox, have tuberculosis (a bacterial infection that affects the lungs), are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults ≥50 years: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for you.

  • How should I take Zostavax?

    Zostavax is given as an injection, directly under the skin, by your doctor.

  • What should I avoid while taking Zostavax?

    Avoid becoming pregnant for 3 months following administration of Zostavax.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Zostavax?

    No significant interactions have been reported with Zostavax at this time. However, always tell your doctor about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

  • What are the possible side effects of Zostavax?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: bruising at the injection site, headache, itching, pain, redness, swelling, warmth

  • Can I receive Zostavax if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Zostavax during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Zostavax?

    If you miss your scheduled appointment, contact your doctor.

  • How should I store Zostavax?

    This medication will be stored by your doctor.