Vaccine Information: GARDASIL 9 (Page 2 of 8)

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The postmarketing adverse experiences were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, therefore, it is not possible to reliably estimate their frequency or to establish a causal relationship to vaccine exposure.

The safety profile of GARDASIL 9 and GARDASIL are similar. The postmarketing safety experience with GARDASIL is relevant to GARDASIL 9 since the vaccines are manufactured similarly and contain the same L1 HPV proteins of four of the same HPV types.


In addition to the adverse reactions reported in the clinical studies, the following adverse experiences have been spontaneously reported during post-approval use of GARDASIL 9:

Gastrointestinal disorders: Vomiting

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: Urticaria


Additionally, the following postmarketing adverse experiences have been spontaneously reported for GARDASIL:

Blood and lymphatic system disorders: Autoimmune hemolytic anemia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, lymphadenopathy.

Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: Pulmonary embolus.

Gastrointestinal disorders: Pancreatitis.

General disorders and administration site conditions: Asthenia, chills, death, malaise.

Immune system disorders: Autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions, bronchospasm.

Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: Arthralgia, myalgia.

Nervous system disorders: Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, motor neuron disease, paralysis, seizures, transverse myelitis.

Infections and infestations: Cellulitis.

Vascular disorders: Deep venous thrombosis.


7.1 Use with Systemic Immunosuppressive Medications

Immunosuppressive therapies, including irradiation, antimetabolites, alkylating agents, cytotoxic drugs, and corticosteroids (used in greater than physiologic doses), may reduce the immune responses to vaccines [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].


8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Exposure Registry

There is a pregnancy exposure registry to monitor pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to GARDASIL 9 during pregnancy. To enroll in or obtain information about the registry, call Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC at 1-800-986-8999.

Risk Summary

All pregnancies have a risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 20%, respectively. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of GARDASIL 9 in pregnant women. Available human data do not demonstrate vaccine-associated increase in risk of major birth defects and miscarriages when GARDASIL 9 is administered during pregnancy.

In one developmental toxicity study, 0.5 mL of a vaccine formulation containing between 1 and 1.5 –fold of each of the 9 HPV antigen types was administered to female rats prior to mating and during gestation. In a second study, animals were administered a single human dose (0.5 mL) of GARDASIL 9 prior to mating, during gestation and during lactation. These animal studies revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus due to GARDASIL 9 [see Data].


Human Data

In pre-licensure clinical studies of GARDASIL 9, women underwent pregnancy testing immediately prior to administration of each dose of GARDASIL 9 or control vaccine (GARDASIL). (Data from GARDASIL are relevant to GARDASIL 9 because both vaccines are manufactured using the same process and have overlapping compositions.) Subjects who were determined to be pregnant were instructed to defer vaccination until the end of their pregnancy. Despite this pregnancy screening regimen, some subjects were vaccinated very early in pregnancy before human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) was detectable. An analysis was conducted to evaluate pregnancy outcomes for pregnancies with onset within 30 days before or after vaccination with GARDASIL 9 or GARDASIL. Among such pregnancies, there were 62 and 55 with known outcomes (excluding ectopic pregnancies and elective terminations) for GARDASIL 9 and GARDASIL, respectively, including 44 and 48 live births, respectively. The rates of pregnancies that resulted in a miscarriage were 27.4% (17/62) and 12.7% (7/55) in subjects who received GARDASIL 9 or GARDASIL, respectively. The rates of live births with major birth defects were 0% (0/44) and 2.1% (1/48) in subjects who received GARDASIL 9 or GARDASIL, respectively.

A five-year pregnancy registry enrolled 2,942 women who were inadvertently exposed to GARDASIL within one month prior to the last menstrual period (LMP) or at any time during pregnancy, 2,566 of whom were prospectively followed. After excluding elective terminations (n=107), ectopic pregnancies (n=5) and those lost to follow-up (n=814), there were 1,640 pregnancies with known outcomes. Rates of miscarriage and major birth defects were 6.8% of pregnancies (111/1,640) and 2.4% of live born infants (37/1,527), respectively. These rates of assessed outcomes in the prospective population were consistent with estimated background rates.

In two postmarketing studies of GARDASIL (one conducted in the U.S., and the other in Nordic countries), pregnancy outcomes among subjects who received GARDASIL during pregnancy were evaluated retrospectively. Among the 1,740 pregnancies included in the U.S. study database, outcomes were available to assess the rates of major birth defects and miscarriage. Among the 499 pregnancies included in the Nordic study database, outcomes were available to assess the rates of major birth defects. In both studies, rates of assessed outcomes did not suggest an increased risk with the administration of GARDASIL during pregnancy.

Animal Data

Developmental toxicity studies were conducted in female rats. In one study, animals were administered 0.5 mL of a vaccine formulation containing between 1 and 1.5 –fold of each of the 9 HPV antigen types 5 and 2 weeks prior to mating, and on gestation day 6. In a second study, animals were administered a single human dose (0.5 mL) of GARDASIL 9, 5 and 2 weeks prior to mating, on gestation day 6, and on lactation day 7. No adverse effects on pre- and post-weaning development were observed. There were no vaccine-related fetal malformations or variations.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Available data are not sufficient to assess the effects of GARDASIL 9 on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for GARDASIL 9 and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from GARDASIL 9 or from the underlying maternal condition. For preventive vaccines, the underlying maternal condition is susceptibility to disease prevented by the vaccine.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness have not been established in pediatric patients below 9 years of age.

8.5 Geriatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of GARDASIL 9 have not been evaluated in a geriatric population, defined as individuals aged 65 years and over.

8.6 Immunocompromised Individuals

The immunologic response to GARDASIL 9 may be diminished in immunocompromised individuals [see Drug Interactions (7.1)].


GARDASIL 9, Human Papillomavirus 9-valent Vaccine, Recombinant, is a non-infectious recombinant 9-valent vaccine prepared from the purified virus-like particles (VLPs) of the major capsid (L1) protein of HPV Types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. The L1 proteins are produced by separate fermentations using recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae and self-assembled into VLPs. The fermentation process involves growth of S. cerevisiae on chemically-defined fermentation media which include vitamins, amino acids, mineral salts, and carbohydrates. The VLPs are released from the yeast cells by cell disruption and purified by a series of chemical and physical methods. The purified VLPs are adsorbed on preformed aluminum-containing adjuvant (Amorphous Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate Sulfate or AAHS). The 9-valent HPV VLP vaccine is a sterile liquid suspension that is prepared by combining the adsorbed VLPs of each HPV type and additional amounts of the aluminum-containing adjuvant and the final purification buffer.

GARDASIL 9 is a sterile suspension for intramuscular administration. Each 0.5-mL dose contains approximately 30 mcg of HPV Type 6 L1 protein, 40 mcg of HPV Type 11 L1 protein, 60 mcg of HPV Type 16 L1 protein, 40 mcg of HPV Type 18 L1 protein, 20 mcg of HPV Type 31 L1 protein, 20 mcg of HPV Type 33 L1 protein, 20 mcg of HPV Type 45 L1 protein, 20 mcg of HPV Type 52 L1 protein, and 20 mcg of HPV Type 58 L1 protein.

Each 0.5-mL dose of the vaccine also contains approximately 500 mcg of aluminum (provided as AAHS), 9.56 mg of sodium chloride, 0.78 mg of L-histidine, 50 mcg of polysorbate 80, 35 mcg of sodium borate, <7 mcg yeast protein, and water for injection. The product does not contain a preservative or antibiotics.

After thorough agitation, GARDASIL 9 is a white, cloudy liquid.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

HPV only infects human beings. Animal studies with analogous animal papillomaviruses suggest that the efficacy of L1 VLP vaccines may involve the development of humoral immune responses. Efficacy of GARDASIL 9 against anogenital diseases related to the vaccine HPV types in human beings is thought to be mediated by humoral immune responses induced by the vaccine, although the exact mechanism of protection is unknown.


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

GARDASIL 9 has not been evaluated for the potential to cause carcinogenicity, genotoxicity or impairment of male fertility. GARDASIL 9 administered to female rats had no effects on fertility [see Pregnancy (8.1)].


In these studies, seropositive is defined as anti-HPV titer greater than or equal to the pre-specified serostatus cutoff for a given HPV type. Seronegative is defined as anti-HPV titer less than the pre-specified serostatus cutoff for a given HPV type. The serostatus cutoff is the antibody titer level above the assay’s lower limit of quantification that reliably distinguishes sera samples classified by clinical likelihood of HPV infection and positive or negative status by previous versions of competitive Luminex Immunoassay (cLIA). The lower limits of quantification and serostatus cutoffs for each of the 9 vaccine HPV types are shown in Table 5 below. PCR positive is defined as DNA detected for a given HPV type. PCR negative is defined as DNA not detected for a given HPV type. The lower limit of detection for the multiplexed HPV PCR assays ranged from 5 to 34 copies per test across the 9 vaccine HPV types.

Table 5: Competitive Luminex Immunoassay (cLIA) Limits of Quantification and Serostatus Cutoffs for GARDASIL 9 HPV Types
HPV Type cLIA Lower Limit of Quantification (mMU */mL) cLIA Serostatus Cutoff(mMU */mL)
mMU=milli-Merck Units
HPV 6 16 30
HPV 11 6 16
HPV 16 12 20
HPV 18 8 24
HPV 31 4 10
HPV 33 4 8
HPV 45 3 8
HPV 52 3 8
HPV 58 4 8 provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed drugs and vaccines as submitted by manufacturers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual vaccine label and package insert entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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