April 28, 2017
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Rabavert Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving rabies vaccine (Rabavert)?

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

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor if you have:

  • any type of infection or severe illness;
  • a weak immune system caused by disease (such as cancer, HIV, or AIDS);
  • a history of allergic reaction to gelatin, amphotericin B (Amphotec, AmBisome, Abelcet), or neomycin (Mycifradin, Neo Fradin, Neo Tab);
  • if you are allergic to chicken or beef proteins; or
  • if you are receiving treatments that can weaken the immune system (such as radiation, chemotherapy, or steroids).

Rabies vaccine purified chick embryo cell (Rabavert) is made from human plasma (part of the blood) which may contain viruses and other infectious agents. Donated plasma is tested and treated to reduce the risk of it containing infectious agents, but there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of receiving this vaccine.

Vaccines may be harmful to an unborn baby and generally should not be given to a pregnant woman. However, not vaccinating the mother could be more harmful to the baby if the mother becomes infected with a disease that this vaccine could prevent. Your doctor will decide whether you should receive this vaccine, especially if you have a high risk of infection with the bacteria that causes tetanus.

It is not known whether rabies vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is rabies vaccine given (Rabavert)?

This vaccine is injected into a muscle. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office or clinic setting.

For preventing rabies if you are at risk of exposure, you will need to receive a total of 3 injections. The second injection is usually given 7 days after the first, followed by a third injection 2 or 3 weeks later.

Depending on your risk of exposure to rabies, you may need to receive the rabies vaccine series every 2 years. If you work around live rabies virus, such as in a laboratory or a vaccine production area, you may need to receive a booster rabies vaccine every 6 months.

For treating rabies after you have been bitten or exposed, you will need to receive a total of 5 injections. The injections are usually given on Days 0, 3, 7, 14, and 28. At the beginning of your treatment you may also receive a second injection with an immune globulin (im-YOON GLOB-yoo-lin). This medicine is sometimes injected into or near the bite wound or injury where the rabies virus is likely to have entered your body.

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

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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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