Drug information

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Brand Name:
Varivax
Other Names:
Varicella vaccine
Drug Class:
Vaccines
 
What is Varivax?What is Varivax?

What is Varivax?

Varivax is a vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent chicken pox (also known as primary varicella infection) in people 12 months of age and older. Chicken pox can be an opportunistic infection (OI) of HIV. An OI is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as people with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the HIVInfo What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.

The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Exposed and HIV-Infected Children include recommendations on the use of Varivax in people with HIV.

What should I tell my health care provider before receiving Varivax?What should I tell my health care provider before receiving Varivax?

What should I tell my health care provider before receiving Varivax?

Before receiving Varivax, tell your health care provider:

  • If you or your child are allergic to gelatin, neomycin, any other ingredients in Varivax, or any medicines. Tell your health care provider if you or your child have ever had any reactions to a previous dose of the live varicella virus vaccine or to any other vaccines.
  • About any medical conditions you or your child have or have had, including a weakened immune system, fever, or active tuberculosis that is not treated.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Pregnant women should not receive Varivax. Additionally, women should avoid getting pregnant for 3 months after vaccination with Varivax. Talk to your health care provider about the risks of receiving Varivax during pregnancy. 
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. For women with HIV in the United States, the Guideline does not recommend breastfeeding. Before your baby is born, or if you are already breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider to discuss alternative options for feeding your baby.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you or your child are taking or plan to take. Varivax may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how Varivax works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between Varivax and the medicines you or your child take.

Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from Varivax. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.

How is Varivax given?How is Varivax given?

How is Varivax given?

A health care provider gives the Varivax vaccine as recommended to people who are 12 months of age or older. The vaccine is given as a subcutaneous (SC, Sub-Q) injection. Vaccination with Varivax is given as a series of two doses, with an interval between each dose. Read any printed information that your health care provider gives you about the varicella virus vaccine.

Where can I find more information about varicella virus vaccines?Where can I find more information about varicella virus vaccines?

Where can I find more information about varicella virus vaccines?

More information about varicella virus vaccines is available:

The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Injection (powder, lyophilized, for suspension).

 

Last Reviewed: March 30, 2021