Vaccine Information: RECOMBIVAX HB (Page 2 of 3)

6.2 Post-Marketing Experience

The following additional adverse reactions have been reported with use of the marketed vaccine. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to a vaccine exposure.

Immune System Disorders

Hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions, bronchospasm, and urticaria have been reported within the first few hours after vaccination. An apparent hypersensitivity syndrome (serum-sickness-like) of delayed onset has been reported days to weeks after vaccination, including: arthralgia/arthritis (usually transient), fever, and dermatologic reactions such as urticaria, erythema multiforme, ecchymoses and erythema nodosum [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]. Autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), lupus-like syndrome, vasculitis, and polyarteritis nodosa have also been reported.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Elevation of liver enzymes; constipation

Nervous System Disorders

Guillain-Barré syndrome; multiple sclerosis; exacerbation of multiple sclerosis; myelitis including transverse myelitis; seizure; febrile seizure; peripheral neuropathy including Bell’s Palsy; radiculopathy; herpes zoster; migraine; muscle weakness; hypesthesia; encephalitis

Skin and Subcutaneous Disorders

Stevens-Johnson syndrome; alopecia; petechiae; eczema

Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders


Pain in extremity

Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders

Increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate; thrombocytopenia

Psychiatric Disorders

Irritability; agitation; somnolence

Eye Disorders

Optic neuritis; tinnitus; conjunctivitis; visual disturbances; uveitis

Cardiac Disorders

Syncope; tachycardia

The following adverse reaction has been reported with another Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant) but not with RECOMBIVAX HB: keratitis.


7.1 Concomitant Administration with Other Vaccines

Do not mix RECOMBIVAX HB with any other vaccine in the same syringe or vial. Use separate injection sites and syringes for each vaccine.

In clinical trials in children, RECOMBIVAX HB was concomitantly administered with one or more of the following US licensed vaccines: Diphtheria, Tetanus and whole cell Pertussis; oral Poliomyelitis vaccine; Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live; Haemophilus b Conjugate Vaccine (Meningococcal Protein Conjugate)] or a booster dose of Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis. Safety and immunogenicity were similar for concomitantly administered vaccines compared to separately administered vaccines.

In another clinical trial, a related HBsAg-containing product, Haemophilus b Conjugate (Meningococcal Protein Conjugate) and Hepatitis B (Recombinant) combination product (no longer licensed), was given concomitantly with eIPV (enhanced inactivated Poliovirus vaccine) or VARIVAX® [Varicella Virus Vaccine Live (Oka/Merck)], using separate sites and syringes for injectable vaccines. No serious vaccine-related adverse events were reported, and no impairment of immune response to these individually tested vaccine antigens was demonstrated.

The Haemophilus b Conjugate (Meningococcal Protein Conjugate) and Hepatitis B (Recombinant) combination product (no longer licensed) has also been administered concomitantly with the primary series of DTaP to a limited number of infants. No serious vaccine-related adverse events were reported.

7.2 Concomitant Administration with Immune Globulin

RECOMBIVAX HB may be administered concomitantly with HBIG. The first dose of RECOMBIVAX HB may be given at the same time as HBIG, but the injections should be administered at different sites.

7.3 Interference with Laboratory Tests

Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) derived from hepatitis B vaccines has been transiently detected in blood samples following vaccination. Serum HBsAg detection may not have diagnostic value within 28 days after receipt of a hepatitis B vaccine, including RECOMBIVAX HB.


8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

All pregnancies have a risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the US 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 designed to evaluate RECOMBIVAX HB in pregnant women. Available post-approval data do not suggest an increased risk of miscarriage or major birth defects in women who received RECOMBIVAX HB during pregnancy.

Developmental toxicity studies have not been conducted with the vaccine in animals.


Human Data

In post-licensure clinical studies of RECOMBIVAX HB, 26 pregnant women were inadvertently administered RECOMBIVAX HB following their last menstrual period. Among these pregnancies, after excluding elective terminations (n=3), there were 23 pregnancies with known outcomes all with exposure in the first trimester. Miscarriage was reported in 4 of 23 (17%) pregnancies and major birth defects were reported in 0 of 19 (0%) live births. The rates of miscarriage and major birth defects were consistent with estimated background rates.

Post-approval adverse reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size. It is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to the vaccine.

In prospectively reported spontaneous post-approval reports from 1986 to 2018, 105 women with known pregnancy outcomes were exposed to RECOMBIVAX HB during pregnancy following the last menstrual period. After excluding induced abortions (n=5), those with exposure in the third trimester (n=4), and those with an unknown exposure timing (n=6), there were 90 pregnancies with known outcomes with exposures in the first or second trimester. Miscarriage was reported for 7 of 90 (7.8%) pregnancies. Major birth defects were reported for 2 of 83 (2.4%) live born infants. The rates of miscarriage and major birth defects were consistent with estimated background rates.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

It is not known whether RECOMBIVAX HB is excreted in human milk. Data are not available to assess the effects of RECOMBIVAX HB 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 RECOMBIVAX HB and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from RECOMBIVAX HB or from the underlying maternal condition. For preventive vaccines, the underlying maternal condition is susceptibility to the disease prevented by the vaccine.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of RECOMBIVAX HB have been established in all pediatric age groups. Maternally transferred antibodies do not interfere with the active immune response to the vaccine. [See Adverse Reactions (6.1) and Clinical Studies (14.1 and 14.2).] The safety and effectiveness of RECOMBIVAX HB Dialysis Formulation in children have not been established.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of RECOMBIVAX HB used for licensure did not include sufficient numbers of subjects 65 years of age and older to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. However, in later studies it has been shown that a diminished antibody response can be expected in persons older than 60 years of age.


RECOMBIVAX HB Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant) is a sterile suspension of non-infectious subunit viral vaccine derived from HBsAg produced in yeast cells. A portion of the hepatitis B virus gene, coding for HBsAg, is cloned into yeast, and the vaccine for hepatitis B is produced from cultures of this recombinant yeast strain according to methods developed in the Merck Research Laboratories.

The antigen is harvested and purified from fermentation cultures of a recombinant strain of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae containing the gene for the adw subtype of HBsAg. The fermentation process involves growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae on a complex fermentation medium which consists of an extract of yeast, soy peptone, dextrose, amino acids and mineral salts. The HBsAg protein is released from the yeast cells by cell disruption and purified by a series of physical and chemical methods. The purified protein is treated in phosphate buffer with formaldehyde and then coprecipitated with alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) to form bulk vaccine adjuvanted with amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate. Each dose contains less than 1% yeast protein. The vaccine produced by the Merck method has been shown to be comparable to the plasma-derived vaccine in terms of animal potency (mouse, monkey, and chimpanzee) and protective efficacy (chimpanzee and human).

The vaccine against hepatitis B, prepared from recombinant yeast cultures, is free of association with human blood or blood products.

RECOMBIVAX HB Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant) is supplied in three formulations. [See How Supplied/Storage and Handling (16).]

Pediatric/Adolescent Formulation (Without Preservative), 10 mcg/mL: each 0.5 mL dose contains 5 mcg of hepatitis B surface antigen.

Adult Formulation (Without Preservative), 10 mcg/mL: each 1 mL dose contains 10 mcg of hepatitis B surface antigen.

Dialysis Formulation (Without Preservative), 40 mcg/mL: each 1 mL dose contains 40 mcg of hepatitis B surface antigen.

All formulations contain approximately 0.5 mg of aluminum (provided as amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, previously referred to as aluminum hydroxide) per mL of vaccine. In each formulation, hepatitis B surface antigen is adsorbed onto approximately 0.5 mg of aluminum (provided as amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate) per mL of vaccine. The vaccine contains <15 mcg/mL residual formaldehyde. The vaccine is of the adw subtype.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

RECOMBIVAX HB has been shown to elicit antibodies to hepatitis B virus as measured by ELISA.

Antibody concentrations ≥10mIU/mL against HBsAg are recognized as conferring protection against hepatitis B infection.{2}

Infection with hepatitis B virus can have serious consequences including acute massive hepatic necrosis and chronic active hepatitis. Chronically infected persons are at increased risk for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

RECOMBIVAX HB has not been evaluated for its carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or its potential to impair fertility [see Use in Specific Populations (8)].


14.1 Efficacy in Neonates with Peripartum Exposure to Hepatitis B

The protective efficacy of three 5 mcg doses of RECOMBIVAX HB has been demonstrated in neonates born of mothers positive for both HBsAg and HBeAg (a core-associated antigenic complex which correlates with high infectivity). In a clinical study of infants who received one dose of HBIG at birth followed by the recommended three-dose regimen of RECOMBIVAX HB, chronic infection had not occurred in 96% of 130 infants after nine months of follow-up.{4} The estimated efficacy in prevention of chronic hepatitis B infection was 95% as compared to the infection rate in untreated historical controls.{5} Significantly fewer neonates became chronically infected when given one dose of HBIG at birth followed by the recommended three-dose regimen of RECOMBIVAX HB when compared to historical controls who received only a single dose of HBIG.{6} As demonstrated in the above study, HBIG, when administered simultaneously with RECOMBIVAX HB at separate body sites, did not interfere with the induction of protective antibodies against hepatitis B virus elicited by the vaccine.{6} 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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