Rabies Vaccine (By injection)
Vaccine (About this – PubMed Health)
Uses of This Medicine
Rabies vaccine is an active immunizing agent used to prevent infection caused by the rabies virus. The vaccine works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the rabies virus.
Rabies vaccine is used in two ways. Rabies vaccine is given to persons who have been exposed (e.g., by a bite, scratch, or lick) to an animal that is known, or thought, to have rabies. This is called post-exposure prophylaxis. Rabies vaccine may also be given ahead of time to persons who have a high risk of getting infected with rabies virus. These persons include veterinarians, animal handlers, or travelers who will spend more than 1 month in countries having a high rate of rabies infection, and persons who live, work, or take vacations in wild areas of the country where they are likely to come into contact with wild animals. This is called pre-exposure prophylaxis.
Rabies infection is a serious, and often fatal, infection. In the U.S., rabies in wild animals, especially raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, accounts for most cases of rabies passed on to humans, pets, and other domestic animals. In Canada, the animals most often infected with rabies are foxes, skunks, bats, dogs, and cats. Horses, swine, and cattle also have been known to become infected with rabies. In much of the rest of the world, including Latin America, Africa, and Asia, dogs account for most cases of rabies passed on to humans.
If you are being (or will be) treated for a possible rabies infection while traveling outside of the U.S. or Canada, contact your doctor as soon as you return to the U.S. or Canada, since it may be necessary for you to have additional treatment.
This vaccine is to be administered only by or under the supervision of your doctor or other health care professional.
Other uses (PubMed Health)
How To Use
Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot into one of your muscles. The vaccine is injected into the upper arm muscle. Very young or small children may have the vaccine injected into the upper leg muscle.
A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
You are at risk for exposure to the rabies virus if you work with animals or will be going to a country where rabies is common. People who are at risk of being exposed to rabies will receive 3 doses on 3 different days within a 1-month period.
If you have received the vaccine in the past and have been exposed to the rabies virus, you will need to receive 2 doses on 2 different days within a 1-month period.
If you have not yet received the vaccine and were exposed to the rabies virus, you will need a total of 5 doses on 5 different days within a 1-month period. You will also receive a shot of rabies immune globulin.
It is very important that you have the shots on the exact day your doctor tells you to.
If a dose is missed:
You must use this medicine on a fixed schedule. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you miss a dose.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
Tell your doctor before you receive this vaccine if you take medicine that weakens your immune system, such as a steroid (such as dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone, Medrol®) or cancer treatment.
When Not To Use
You should not receive a rabies vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to it before.
Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to any type of vaccine, if you have an illness with fever, or if you have an immune system problem.
This medicine is made from donated human blood. Some human blood products have transmitted viruses to people who have received them, although the risk is low. Human donors and donated blood are both tested for viruses to keep the transmission risk low. Talk with your médico about this risk if you are concerned.
Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
Possible side effects
Summary More details
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
Muscle pain, stiffness, or weakness
Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
Itching, pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More side effects of this drug
Brand names include
Imovax Rabies, Rabavert
There may be other brand names for this medicine.