pneumococcal vaccine (polysaccharide)
In this drug factsheet:DIN (Drug Identification Number)
|02231259 ||PNEUMO 23 SOLUTION FOR INJECTION|
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Pneumococcal vaccine belongs to the class of medications called vaccines. It is used for the prevention of pneumonia caused by the 23 different types of pneumococci bacteria that are contained in the vaccine. Pneumococcal bacteria can cause many diseases ranging from pneumonia (lung infection) and meningitis (brain infection) to severe infections of the blood.
The pneumococcal vaccine increases your defenses against infection with pneumococcal bacteria by introducing very small amounts of bacterial components (not live bacteria) into the bloodstream. These components of bacteria are enough to stimulate the production of your own antibodies (cells designed to attack that particular bacteria), which will remain in the body ready to attack any future bacteria that may cause infection.
It is important to remember that vaccination only protects you from those bacteria that are actually contained in the vaccine. The vaccination is designed to prevent infection caused by the most common types of pneumonia-causing bacteria.
The vaccine is recommended for everyone 2 years of age or older who are at an increased risk of having complications or dying from pneumococcal pneumonia. These include people:
- with chronic conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, kidney failure, alcoholism, diabetes or cerebrospinal fluid leaks with HIV infection, certain types of cancer, or people receiving drugs which suppress the immune system
- who do not have a spleen or have a spleen that does not work properly
- recovering from severe disease
- over 50 years of age, as recommended by a physician
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
How should I use this medication?
Pneumococcal vaccine will be injected either under the skin or into a muscle (preferably in the upper, outer arm or thigh) by a qualified health professional. It usually needs to be given only once in a lifetime. Although routine revaccination is not recommended, people at highest risk of serious pneumococcal infection may need revaccination. Revaccination is given 5 years later for people who received their first dose of pneumococcal vaccine when they were older than 10 years of age, and 3 years later for people who received their first dose at age 10 or younger. People over the age of 65 who have not received a dose of this vaccine within 5 years, should receive another dose of the vaccine.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. Your doctor may recommend a different dose than the ones listed here.
It is important this vaccine be given exactly as recommended by your doctor. If you miss an appointment to receive the pneumococcal vaccine, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
Refrigerate the vaccine until use. It must not freeze or it will have to be discarded.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Pneumo 23 is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under pneumococcal vaccine (polysaccharide). This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use the pneumococcal vaccine if you:
- are allergic to any ingredient of the vaccine
- have an acute, severe illness with fever