(varicella virus vaccine) Live
VARIVAX* [Varicella Virus Vaccine Live (Oka/Merck)] is a preparation of the Oka/Merck strain of live, attenuated varicella virus. The virus was initially obtained from a child with natural varicella, then introduced into human embryonic lung cell cultures, adapted to and propagated in embryonic guinea pig cell cultures and finally propagated in human diploid cell cultures (WI-38). Further passage of the virus for varicella vaccine was performed at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) in human diploid cell cultures (MRC-5) that were free of adventitious agents. This live, attenuated varicella vaccine is a lyophilized preparation containing sucrose, phosphate, glutamate, and processed gelatin as stabilizers.
VARIVAX (varicella virus vaccine live) , when reconstituted as directed, is a sterile preparation for subcutaneous administration. Each 0.5 mL dose contains the following: a minimum of 1350 PFU (plaque forming units) of Oka/Merck varicella virus when reconstituted and stored at room temperature for 30 minutes, approximately 25 mg of sucrose, 12.5 mg hydrolyzed gelatin, 3.2 mg sodium chloride, 0.5 mg monosodium L-glutamate, 0.45 mg of sodium phosphate dibasic, 0.08 mg of potassium phosphate monobasic, 0.08 mg of potassium chloride; residual components of MRC-5 cells including DNA and protein; and trace quantities of sodium phosphate monobasic, EDTA, neomycin, and fetal bovine serum. The product contains no preservative.
To maintain potency, the lyophilized vaccine must be kept frozen at an average temperature of -15°C (+5°F) or colder and must be used before the expiration date (see HOW SUPPLIED, Stability and Storage). Storage in any freezer (e.g., chest, frost-free) that reliably maintains an average temperature of -15°C (+5°F) or colder and has a separate sealed freezer door is acceptable.
What are the possible side effects of this vaccine (Varivax)?
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 shots caused any side effects.
Becoming infected with chickenpox is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.
Get emergency medical help if you have any...
What are the precautions when taking varicella virus vaccine live (Varivax)?
Before receiving varicella virus vaccine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as neomycin, gelatin), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: illness with a high fever over 101 degrees F (38 degrees C), immune system problems (such as due to HIV infection, cancer treatment, organ transplant), decreased immune function from other medications (see also Drug Interactions), untreated tuberculosis (TB) infection.
There is a small risk that you may expose others to infection with chickenpox for up to 6 weeks after you...
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/16/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Varivax Information
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