May 24, 2017
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Mechanism Of Action

RECOMBIVAX HB has been shown to elicit antibodies to hepatitis B virus as measured by ELISA.

Antibody concentrations ≥ 10mIU/mL against HBsAg are recognized as conferring protection against hepatitis B infection.2

Infection with hepatitis B virus can have serious consequences including acute massive hepatic necrosis and chronic active hepatitis. Chronically infected persons are at increased risk for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Clinical Studies

Efficacy in Neonates with Peripartum Exposure to Hepatitis B

The protective efficacy of three 5 mcg doses of RECOMBIVAX HB has been demonstrated in neonates born of mothers positive for both HBsAg and HBeAg (a core-associated antigenic complex which correlates with high infectivity). In a clinical study of infants who received one dose of HBIG at birth followed by the recommended three-dose regimen of RECOMBIVAX HB, chronic infection had not occurred in 96% of 130 infants after nine months of follow-up.4 The estimated efficacy in prevention of chronic hepatitis B infection was 95% as compared to the infection rate in untreated historical controls.5 Significantly fewer neonates became chronically infected when given one dose of HBIG at birth followed by the recommended three-dose regimen of RECOMBIVAX HB when compared to historical controls who received only a single dose of HBIG.6 As demonstrated in the above study, HBIG, when administered simultaneously with RECOMBIVAX HB at separate body sites, did not interfere with the induction of protective antibodies against hepatitis B virus elicited by the vaccine.6

Immunogenicity Of A Three-Dose Regimen In Healthy Infants, Children, And Adolescents

Three 5 mcg doses of RECOMBIVAX HB induced a protective level of antibody in 100% of 92 infants, 99% of 129 children, and in 99% of 112 adolescents [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Immunogenicity Of A Two-Dose Regimen In Healthy Adolescents 11 through 15 Years Of Age

For adolescents (11 through 15 years of age), the immunogenicity of a two-dose regimen (10 mcg at 0 and 4-6 months) was compared with that of the standard three-dose regimen (5 mcg at 0, 1, and 6 months) in an open, randomized, multicenter study. The proportion of adolescents receiving the two-dose regimen who developed a protective level of antibody one month after the last dose (99% of 255 subjects) appears similar to that among adolescents who received the three-dose regimen (98% of 121 subjects). After adolescents (11 through 15 years of age) received the first 10-mcg dose of the two-dose regimen, the proportion who developed a protective level of antibody was approximately 72%.

Immunogenicity In Healthy Adults

Clinical studies have shown that RECOMBIVAX HB when injected into the deltoid muscle induced protective levels of antibody in 96% of 1213 healthy adults who received the recommended three-dose regimen. Antibody responses varied with age; a protective level of antibody was induced in 98% of 787 young adults 20-29 years of age, 94% of 249 adults 30-39 years of age and in 89% of 177 adults ≥ 40 years of age.

Efficacy And Immunogenicity In Specific Populations

Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

In one published study, the seroprotection rates in individuals with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection given the standard regimen of RECOMBIVAX HB was approximately 70%.7 In a second published study of intravenous drug users given an accelerated schedule of RECOMBIVAX HB, infection with HCV did not affect the response to RECOMBIVAX HB.8

Predialysis and Dialysis Adult Patients

Predialysis and dialysis adult patients respond less well to hepatitis B vaccines than do healthy individuals; however, vaccination of adult patients early in the course of their renal disease produces higher seroconversion rates than vaccination after dialysis has been initiated.9 In addition, the responses to these vaccines may be lower if the vaccine is administered as a buttock injection. When 40 mcg of Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant), was administered in the deltoid muscle, 89% of 28 participants developed anti-HBs with 86% achieving levels ≥ 10 mIU/mL. However, when the same dosage of this vaccine was administered inappropriately either in the buttock or a combination of buttock and deltoid, 62% of 47 participants developed anti-HBs with 55% achieving levels of ≥ 10 mIU/mL.


4. Stevens, C.E.; Taylor, P.E.; Tong, M.J., et al.: Prevention of Perinatal Hepatitis B Virus Infection with Hepatitis B Immune Globulin and Hepatitis B Vaccine, in Zuckerman, A.J. (ed.), “Viral Hepatitis and Liver Diseases”, Alan R. Liss, 982-983, 1988.

5. Stevens, C.E.; Taylor, P.E.; Tong, M.J., et al.: Yeast-Recombinant Hepatitis B Vaccine, Efficacy with Hepatitis B Immune Globulin in Prevention of Perinatal Hepatitis B Virus Transmission, JAMA 257(19): 2612-2616, 1987.

6. Beasley, R.P.; Hwang, L.; Stevens, C.E.; Lin, C.; Hsieh, F.; Wang, K.; Sun, T.; Szmuness, W.: Efficacy of Hepatitis B Immune Globulin for Prevention of Perinatal Transmission of the Hepatitis B Virus Carrier State: Final Report of a Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial, Hepatology 3: 135-141, 1983.

7. Wiedmann, M.; Liebert, U.G.; Oesen, U.; Porst, H.; Wiese, M.; Schroeder, S.; Halm, U.; Mossner, J.; Berr, F.: Decreased Immunogenicity of Recombinant Hepatitis B Vaccine in Chronic Hepatitis C, Hepatology, 31: 230-234, 2000.

8. Minniti, F.; Baldo, V.; Trivello, R.; Bricolo, R.; Di Furia, L.; Renzulli, G.; Chiaramonte, M.: Response to HBV vaccine in Relation to anti-HCV and anti-HBc Positivity: a Study in Intravenous Drug Addicts, Vaccine, 17: 3083-3085, 1999.

9. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP): Hepatitis B Virus Infection: A Comprehensive Strategy to Eliminate Transmission in the United States, 1996 update, MMWR (draft January 13, 1996).

Last reviewed on RxList: 12/1/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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