Generic Name: rabies vaccine (ray BEES vack seen)Brand Names: Imovax Rabies (obsolete), Imovax Rabies I.D. (obsolete), RabAvert (obsolete), Rabies Vaccine (obsolete)
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.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Those who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting rabies vaccine. However, if you have been exposed to the rabies virus, you should get the vaccine regardless of any other illnesses you may have.
People at high risk of exposure to rabies include veterinarians, animal handlers, rabies laboratory workers, spelunkers, rabies biologics production workers, or anyone who is likely to come in contact with infected animals or the virus itself. These people should be offered rabies vaccine.
Before receiving rabies vaccine, talk to your doctor if you:
have HIV or AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system;
are taking an antimalarial drug;
are taking a medication that affects the immune system (e.g. steroids, anti-rejection medications);
have cancer; or
are receiving cancer treatment with x-rays, radiation, or medication.
Ask your healthcare provider for more information. Rabies vaccine may not be recommended in some cases.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Those who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting rabies vaccine. However, if you have been exposed to the rabies virus, you should get the vaccine regardless of any other illnesses you may have.Talk to your doctor before receiving rabies vaccine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.
Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will administer the rabies vaccine as an injection.
Talk to your doctor if you miss a dose.
An overdose of rabies vaccine is unlikely to occur.
There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity before or after receiving rabies vaccine.
Getting rabies disease is much riskier than getting rabies vaccine. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of rabies vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.Seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately if any of the following rare but serious side effects from rabies vaccine are experienced:
a serious allergic reaction including swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; hives; paleness; weakness; dizziness; or a fast heart beat within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot;
high fever; or
Some people who get rabies vaccine get a sore spot where the shot was given.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Contact your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
Talk to your doctor before receiving rabies vaccine if you are taking any of the following medications that may affect the immune system:
an oral or injectable steroid medication such as betamethasone (Celestone), cortisone (Cortone), dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisolone (Prelone, Pediapred), prednisone (Orasone, Deltasone, others), or triamcinolone (Aristocort);
an inhaled or nasal steroid such as beclomethasone (Qvar, Beclovent, Beconase, Vanceril, Vancenase), budesonide (Pulmicort, Rhinocort), flunisolide (Aerobid, Nasalide, Nasarel), fluticasone (Flovent, Flonase), mometasone (Nasonex), or triamcinolone (Azmacort, Nasacort);
treatment for cancer with chemotherapy (medication), radiation, or x-rays;
cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf);
mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept);
sirolimus (Rapamune); or
Other drugs may affect rabies vaccine, talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking.