1 What is Twinrix?

Brand: Twinrix

Generic: Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B Vaccine

Twinrix is used in combination to prevent infection of hepatitis A and hepatitis B virus. This vaccine induces the production of antibodies which work as a protection for the body.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver caused by HAV. It is spread through feco-oral route and it caused acute hepatitis. Hepatitis B, on the other hand, causes chronic infection.

This vaccine is to be given only under the supervision of a doctor. This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Suspension

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Twinrix, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Your doctor will consider these risks before prescribing the vaccination and will inform you about them.

Following factors should be considered before taking this drug:

Allergies: If you have had an allergic reaction to this drug in the past, inform your doctor. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any other drugs or food products.

Age-specific problems: The data regarding the effects of this medicine specific to the pediatric age group is not yet available. Its safety and efficacy have not been established in children.

The studies specific to the geriatric age group have not been carried out, therefore its safety and efficacy have not been established in older age group. However, geriatric population is more prone to having kidney, liver and heart problems.

Pregnancy: Regarding the safety of usage of this drug during pregnancy, it comes under “C” category, which means that clinical trials on animals have revealed harmful effects to the developing fetus or relevant studies have not been performed.

Drug Interactions: Certain drugs should not be used together because they can interact inside the body which can have a harmful effect. On the other hand, certain drugs are allowed to be used together.

So, you should tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. If there is a chance of interaction between those two drugs, the doctor may change the dose or may prescribe an alternative drug.

Furthermore, certain medications should not be taken with alcohol or tobacco, which may also result in harmful interactions. Ask your doctor about the concurrent use of this drug along with alcohol or tobacco.

You should also inform your doctor about any other medical condition you may be suffering from, especially:

  • Allergy to yeast
  • Allergy to neomycin
  • Weak immune system from a disease or medicine
  • Moderate or severe illness with fever

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Twinrix requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. This vaccine should only be administered under the supervision of a doctor by a nurse.

It is usually given through a needle into your muscles. This vaccine is given 3 doses. The second dose is given at one month and the third dose is given at 6 months. It is important that you don’t miss any dose.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Twinrix, there are some precautions you must take. This vaccine can cause a serious allergic reaction including anaphylaxis, which can be a life-threatening condition.

Tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to this vaccine before. It is important for your doctor to monitor the response to the vaccine and look for any side effects. Therefore, regular follow-up is necessary during and after the treatment. 

Avoid taking any other medicine unless thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Always ask your doctor before using any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medicine.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Twinrix. Although these side effects may occur only in a handful of patients but if they do occur, contact your physician immediately.

This medication is associated with following side effects:

  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • fever more than 99.5 degrees F
  • hives
  • the difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  • itching, especially of the hands or feet
  • swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
  • reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
  • unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)
  • back pain
  • agitation
  • black, tarry stools
  • being forgetful
  • bleeding gums
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin
  • bloody nose
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • blurred vision
  • coma
  • chills
  • confusion
  • cough
  • convulsions or seizures
  • dark urine
  • difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels
  • diarrhea
  • the difficulty with walking
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • fast, irregular, pounding or racing heartbeat or pulse
  • feeling sad or depressed
  • the feeling of discomfort
  • the general feeling of illness
  • hallucinations
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • headache
  • heavier menstrual periods
  • inability to move the arms and legs
  • increased sweating
  • irritability
  • inflammation of the joints
  • itching
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • joint or muscle pain
  • light-colored stools
  • nausea or vomiting
  • muscle aches or cramps
  • numbness or tingling in your arms, face, hands, or legs
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • partial or slight paralysis
  • rash
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • red, irritated eyes
  • severe headache
  • redness, soreness, or itching skin
  • slurred speech or problems with swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sores, welting, or blisters
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • stiff neck or back
  • swollen lymph glands
  • sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • yellow eyes and skin
  • wheezing

Seek medical help instantly, if you experience any of these symptoms while on this drug. Also contact your health care professional immediately, if have overdosed on this drug. If any of these side effects becomes more bothersome or does not go away, contact your doctor.