Side Effects

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

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, the “swine flu” virus has not been used in influenza vaccines, and there has been no recurrence of GBS that was associated with influenza vaccinations.

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. Chills
  2. cough
  3. decreased appetite
  4. fever
  5. headache
  6. muscle aches
  7. sore throat
  8. stuffy or runny nose
  9. tiredness or weakness

Less common

  1. Earache
  2. pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  3. redness or swelling in the ear
  4. shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  5. sneezing
  6. tightness of the chest or wheezing


  1. Difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  2. hives
  3. itching, especially of the feet or hands
  4. reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
  5. swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
  6. unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)

Incidence not known

  1. Anxiety
  2. bloody nose
  3. blue or pale skin
  4. chest pain, possibly moving to the left arm, neck, or shoulder
  5. confusion
  6. diarrhea
  7. dizziness
  8. drowsiness
  9. fast heartbeat
  10. general feeling of illness
  11. hoarseness
  12. inability to move the arms and legs
  13. irritation
  14. itching
  15. joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  16. nausea
  17. puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  18. severe headache
  19. skin rash
  20. stiff neck and/or back
  21. sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
  22. swelling or puffiness of the face
  23. unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
  24. unusual tiredness or weakness
  25. vomiting
  26. weakness of the muscles in your face

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:

More common

  1. Abdominal or stomach pain
  2. irritability
  3. loss of appetite

Incidence not known

  1. Welts

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.