What Hepatyrix is used for

Hepatyrix is a combination vaccine used to prevent hepatitis A and typhoid fever. The vaccine works by causing the body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against these diseases.

Hepatitis A is an infectious disease caused by a virus, which causes the liver to become inflamed (swollen). Typhoid fever is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called Salmonella typhi.

Hepatitis A

Symptoms of hepatitis A usually begin 3 to 6 weeks after coming into contact with the virus. These consist of nausea (feeling sick), fever, aches and pains. After a few days the skin and/or the whites of the eyes may beome yellowish (jaundice). The severity and type of symptoms can vary. Hepatitis A is often milder in young children. Most people recover completely but the illness is usually severe enough to keep adults off work for about a month.

Typhoid Fever

Symptoms of typhoid fever can begin at varying times after coming into contact with the bacteria. These consist of headache, pains in the stomach, constipation or diarrhoea and a fever that may last for one or two weeks. Patients normally get better after about four weeks, but relapses can occur.

The hepatitis A virus and Salmonella typhi bacteria can both be passed from person to person in food and drink, or by swimming in water contaminated by sewage. These diseases are very common in many parts of the world and the risk of infection is greatest in those areas where hygiene and sanitation are poor. Areas include Asia, India, Africa, Central and South America, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean Basin. Vaccination is recommended for travellers to these areas, including people in the armed forces.

Hepatitis A and typhoid fever occur in New Zealand, but are not common. Some groups of people however are at a higher risk of exposure to the diseases.

Vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended for these people:

  • nursing staff and healthcare workers in contact with patients in childrens wards, infectious diseases wards, emergency rooms and intensive care units
  • day-care centre staff particularly where children have not been toilet trained
  • staff and residents of homes for the intellectually disabled
  • sewerage workers
  • men who have sex with men
  • people in contact with an infected person
  • people with chronic liver disease or liver transplants, or people who receive certain blood products.

Vaccination against typhoid fever is recommended for laboratory workers and people in contact with an infected person, as well as travellers to countries where hygeine and sanitation are poor.

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics. Vaccination is the best way to protect against infection.

Hepatyrix will not protect against hepatitis caused by other agents or viruses (such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or hepatitis E). If a person is already infected with hepatitis A or typhoid at the time of vaccination, Hepatyrix may not prevent the disease in these people.

Consumer Medicine Information on Hepatyrix.

Hepatyrix® (inactivated hepatitis A and purified Vi polysaccharide typhoid vaccine) is available as a 1mL injection containing the Vi polysaccharide of Salmonella typhi (25 µg) and inactivated hepatitis A viral antigen (1440 EL.U.)  Hepatyrix is a private-purchase prescription medicine for indicated for immunisation of adults and adolescents older than 15 years of age against hepatitis A and typhoid fever. A single dose of Hepatyrix is recommended; for travellers, this dose should be given at least 2 weeks before departure. A booster dose of hepatitis A vaccine (Havrix), is recommended between 6 and 12 months after a single dose of Hepatyrix, to ensure long term protection against hepatitis A. Adults and adolescents who remain at risk of typhoid fever should have a booster dose of the Vi vaccine (Typherix), every 3 years. Hepatyrix may also be administered as a booster dose between 6 and 12 months after primary immunisation with Havrix. You will need to pay for this medicine.  Do not have a Hepatyrix vaccination if: you are allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine, if you have a severe infection with a high fever, or if you have had a reaction after previous vaccination with Typherix or Havrix. Tell your doctor: if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, if you are breastfeeding, or if you have severe heart or lung disease, a liver or kidney problem, an impaired immune system, a nervous system illness, or a bleeding disorder.  Side effects: feeling generally unwell, headache, nausea, itching, fever, and redness, soreness and swelling at the injection site.  If you have side effects, see your doctor, pharmacist or health professional.  Additional Consumer Medicine Information for Hepatyrix is available at www.medsafe.govt.nz.  Normal doctor's office visit fees apply.  Ask your doctor or travel medicine specialist if Hepatyrix is right for you.   

Hepatyrix is a trade mark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies. Marketed by GlaxoSmithKline NZ Limited, Auckland. TAPS DA89KH/08MY/066

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