Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

US Brand Name

  1. Afluria
  2. Afluria 2013-2014 Formula
  3. Fluarix
  4. Flucelvax
  5. Flucelvax 2013-2014 Formula
  6. Flulaval
  7. Flulaval 2013-2014 Formula
  8. Fluvirin
  9. Fluvirin 2013-2014 Formula
  10. Fluzone
  11. Fluzone High-Dose
  12. Fluzone Pediatric

Descriptions


Influenza virus vaccine is used to prevent infection by the influenza viruses. The vaccine works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the disease. It is also known as a “flu shot”.

There are many kinds of influenza viruses, but not all will cause problems in any given year. Therefore, before the influenza vaccine is produced each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. and Canadian Public Health Services decide which viruses will most likely cause influenza infections for that year. The antigens, which are substances that cause protective antibodies to be formed, for these viruses are included in the influenza vaccine. Usually, the U.S. and Canada use the same influenza vaccine; however, they are not required to do so.

It is necessary to receive an influenza vaccine injection each year, since influenza infections are usually caused by different kinds of viruses and the protection gained by the vaccine lasts less than a year.

Influenza is a virus infection of the throat, bronchial tubes, and lungs. Influenza infection causes fever, chills, cough, headache, muscle aches, and pains in your back, arms, and legs. In addition, adults and children weakened by other diseases or medical conditions, and persons 50 years of age and over, even if they are healthy, may get a much more serious illness that may have to be treated in a hospital. Each year thousands of people die as a result of an influenza infection.

The best way to help prevent influenza infections is to get an influenza vaccination each year, usually in early November. Immunization (getting a vaccine) against influenza is approved for infants 6 months of age and older, all children, and all adults (including 65 years of age and older).

This vaccine is to be given only by or under the supervision of your doctor or other health care professional.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Suspension
  • Solution

Before Using

In deciding to use a vaccine, the risks of taking the vaccine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this vaccine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of Agriflu®, Flucelvax®, Flulaval™, Fluzone® High-Dose, or Fluzone® Intradermal in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Afluria® is not indicated in children younger than 5 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of Fluvirin® in children younger than 4 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of Fluarix® in children younger than 3 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of Fluzone® or Fluzone® Quadrivalent in children younger than 6 months of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of influenza virus vaccine in the elderly.

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of Fluzone® Intradermal in the geriatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Pregnancy

Information about this influenza-virus-vaccine-intradermal-route-intramuscular-route
Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breastfeeding

Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this vaccine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Receiving this vaccine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Rituximab

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergy to eggs, egg products, or chicken proteins, history of—Usually should not be used in patients with this condition.
  • Bleeding problems (eg, hemophilia, thrombocytopenia)—Use with caution. May have an increased risk of bleeding at the injection site.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS, a severe nerve and muscle problem), history of—Use with caution. May cause the symptoms of this condition to return.
  • Illness with fever, moderate or severe—You may need to wait until you feel better before you receive the vaccine.
  • Immune system problems from a disease or medicine—May not work as well in patients with this condition.
  • Kanamycin, neomycin, or polymyxin allergy, history of—Only certain brands of the influenza vaccine can be used. Talk with your doctor about this.

Proper Use

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child this vaccine. This vaccine is given as a shot into one of your muscles or into your skin, usually in the shoulder area.

Sometimes there is not enough flu vaccine for everyone. If this happens and you are a healthy adult, you might need to wait until later in the flu season before getting your vaccination.

You need to get the flu vaccine every year to protect you from the flu.

Some children may need a second dose of the vaccine. If your child needs a second dose of the vaccine, it is very important for your child to receive the second dose on schedule. If you must cancel the appointment, make another appointment as soon as possible.

Fluzone® Quadrivalent comes with a patient information sheet. It is very important that you read and understand this information. Be sure to ask your doctor about anything you do not understand.

Precautions

It is very important that your child return to your doctor’s office at the right time if your child needs a second dose of the vaccine. Be sure to notify your doctor of any side effects that occur after you or your child receive this vaccine.

This vaccine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash, itching, swelling of the tongue and throat, or troubled breathing after you get the injection.

Children who have received a certain brand of the influenza vaccine (Afluria®) have developed a fever and in some cases a fever with seizures. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about this.

If you are very sick and have a high fever, you will probably need to wait until you are well before your receive this vaccine.

Influenza virus vaccine may not protect everyone who receives the vaccine. Also, this vaccine will not treat flu symptoms if you already have the virus.

The tip cap of the prefilled syringe for certain brands of the injection (Agriflu®, Fluarix®, Flucelvax®, Fluvirin®, Fluzone®, Fluzone® High-Dose) contains dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex), which may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to latex. Tell your doctor if you or your child have a latex allergy before you receive this vaccine.

Make sure your doctor knows if you or your child are using a medicine or treatment that weakens your immune system, such as a steroid, radiation, or cancer treatment. This vaccine may not work as well if you are also using these medicines. Your doctor may still want you to get the vaccine because it can give you some protection.

Side Effects

In 1976, a number of people who received the “swine flu” influenza vaccine developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), which is a disease that may cause paralysis. Most of these people were over 25 years of age. Although only 10 out of every one million people who received the vaccine actually developed GBS, this number was 6 times higher than would normally have been expected. Most of the people who got GBS recovered completely.

It is assumed that the “swine flu” virus included in the 1976 vaccine caused the problem, but this has not been proven. Since that time, studies have shown that the risk of acquiring GBS from an influenza vaccine is very low (one out of every million people).

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  1. Cough
  2. diarrhea
  3. fever
  4. headache
  5. irritability
  6. loss of appetite
  7. muscle aches
  8. redness of the eyes
  9. sneezing
  10. sore throat
  11. stuffy or runny nose
  12. vomiting

Less common

  1. Body aches or pain
  2. chills
  3. difficulty with breathing
  4. earache
  5. ear congestion
  6. loss of voice
  7. shivering
  8. swelling or puffiness of the face
  9. tightness in the chest
  10. unusual tiredness or weakness

Rare

  1. Difficulty with swallowing
  2. dizziness
  3. fast heartbeat
  4. hives
  5. itching
  6. large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  7. noisy breathing
  8. puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, lips, or tongue
  9. skin rash

Incidence not known

  1. Agitation
  2. back pain, sudden and severe
  3. back, leg, or stomach pains
  4. blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  5. bruising, inflammation, rash, redness, swelling, tenderness, or pain at the injection site
  6. burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  7. burning, dry, or itching eyes
  8. chest pain
  9. clumsiness or unsteadiness
  10. confusion
  11. drowsiness
  12. dryness of the throat
  13. fainting
  14. feeling hot
  15. increased sensitivity of the eyes to sunlight
  16. lightheadedness
  17. nosebleeds
  18. pain, redness, soreness, swelling, tenderness, or warmth on the skin
  19. pinpoint red spots on the skin
  20. redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  21. sensation of spinning
  22. shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  23. sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  24. stomach pain, soreness, or discomfort
  25. sweating
  26. trouble sleeping
  27. unusual bleeding or bruising
  28. voice changes
  29. weakness of the muscles in your face
  30. yellowing of the eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Incidence not known

  1. Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.