May 22, 2017
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Imovax Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Imovax Rabies

Generic Name: rabies vaccine (human diploid cell) (Pronunciation: RAY beez vax EEN, HUE man DYE ploid sel)

What is rabies vaccine (Imovax)?

Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus. Rabies is mainly a disease of animals. Humans get rabies when they are bitten by an infected animal. There may be no symptoms at first, but weeks or even years after a bite from an infected animal, rabies can cause pain, fatigue, headaches, irritability, fever, seizures, hallucinations, and paralysis. Rabies can be fatal.

You are more likely to be exposed to the rabies virus if you are a veterinarian, animal handler, rabies laboratory worker, or may otherwise come into contact with animals that could possibly carry the virus (including cats, dogs, foxes, skunks, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, and bats). Travel to certain countries may also increase your risk of exposure to rabies.

Rabies human diploid cell vaccine is used to prevent rabies in people who have been bitten by an animal (post-exposure) or otherwise may be exposed to the rabies virus (pre-exposure).

Like any vaccine, the rabies vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What are the possible side effects of rabies vaccine (Imovax)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with rabies is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • a very high fever, (above 104 degrees);
  • weakness or prickly feeling in your fingers or toes; or
  • problems with balance or eye movement, trouble speaking or swallowing.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • pain, swelling, itching, or redness where the shot was given;
  • headache;
  • dizziness;
  • muscle pain; or
  • nausea, stomach pain.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

Read the Imovax (rabies vaccine) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about rabies vaccine (Imovax)?

You should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had a life threatening allergic reaction to a rabies vaccine.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.

Side Effects Centers

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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