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Common Name
pertussis - diptheria - tetanus - inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

The pertussis - diphtheria toxoid - tetanus toxoid - inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine belongs to a group of medications known as vaccines. It is used to prevent pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria, tetanus, and poliomyelitis (polio).

This vaccine is used as a booster for children over the age of 4 years. It may also be given to women during pregnancy to create antibodies to pass to newborn babies to prevent against whooping cough. It increases your defenses against pertussis and polio infections and against the toxins produced by tetanus and diphtheria bacteria.

It works by stimulating the production of your own antibodies, which will remain in the body ready to attack any future bacteria or viruses and deal with the toxins produced during tetanus or diphtheria infections.

Your child's doctor may have suggested this vaccine for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this vaccine may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your child's doctor or are not sure why your child is receiving this vaccine, speak to your child's doctor.

How should I use this medication?

The usual dose of this vaccine is 0.5 mL given as an injection into the muscle of the outer thigh for infants younger than 1 year and of the upper, outer arm for older children. This vaccine is used as a booster dose in children up to and including 6 years of age who have been previously vaccinated with three or four doses of pertussis, diphtheria, polio, and tetanus vaccine. The first booster dose is usually given at 15 to 18 months of age, with the second booster dose at 4 to 6 years of age. This medication should not be given to children 7 years of age or older.

This vaccine is given by a health care professional in a doctor's office or clinic.

It is very important that this vaccine be given on a regular schedule as prescribed by the doctor. If your child misses a dose of this vaccine, check with your child's health care professional. Add all vaccines your child receives to their immunization record.

Store this medication in the refrigerator and keep it out of the reach of children. Do not allow it to freeze.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Quadracel is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under pertussis - diphtheria - tetanus –polio vaccine. 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?

Pertussis - diphtheria toxoid - tetanus toxoid - inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine should not be used by anyone who:

  • is allergic to the pertussis - diphtheria toxoid - tetanus toxoid - poliomyelitis vaccine, or to any of the ingredients of the vaccine or any components of the container
  • is allergic to neomycin or polymyxin
  • has had encephalopathy (brain inflammation) within 7 days of a previous dose of a pertussis-containing vaccine
  • has developed low platelets following a previous dose of a diphtheria- or pertussis-containing vaccine
What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who receives this vaccine. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this vaccine with your child's doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people receiving this vaccine. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your child's doctor if your child experiences these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • crying
  • decreased appetite or feeding
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • fussiness or irritability
  • headache
  • nausea
  • redness, swelling, soreness, tenderness, or pain at place of injection
  • tiredness
  • sore or swollen joints

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your child's doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your child's doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • hives
  • rash
  • unresponsiveness
  • vomiting

Seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • convulsions (seizures)
  • fever over 40.5°C (105°F)
  • signs of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the mouth or throat)

Be sure to mention any side effects to your child's doctor, as it may mean that your child is allergic to the vaccine.

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your child's doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you after your child receives this vaccine.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before your child receives this vaccine, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies your child may have, any medications your child is taking, and any other significant facts about your child's health. These factors may affect the vaccine your child is receiving.

Allergic reactions: In rare cases, this vaccine may cause severe allergic reactions. If you notice signs of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives; trouble breathing or swallowing; or swelling of the lips, face, throat, or tongue), get medical attention immediately.

Bleeding: If your child has a bleeding disorder or is taking anticoagulants (blood thinners), discuss with their doctor how this vaccine may affect their medical condition and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Immune system: As with any vaccine, this vaccine may not be as effective for people with a weakened immune system (e.g., people with AIDS or cancer, people taking antirejection medications after an organ transplant, people receiving chemotherapy, or people taking any medication that suppresses the immune system). If your child has a weakened immune system, their doctor may decide to postpone the vaccine till their immune system recovers.

Infection: Your child's doctor may decide to delay this vaccine if your child has an acute infection or fever. Mild infections without fever, such as colds, usually do not require delay of the vaccine.

Medical conditions: If you bruise easily, have a neurological disorder, have a bleeding problem, have a high fever, have poorly controlled epilepsy, have had an allergic reaction to other vaccines, or have a family history of seizures, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Vaccine protection: As with any vaccine, this vaccine may not protect 100% of people who receive it and may not prevent infection for people who are already infected with the bacteria or virus.

Pregnancy: This vaccine may be given during pregnancy, so that the mother's immune system can create antibodies to transfer to the developing baby. This provides temporary immunity to whooping cough for the newborn baby until routine childhood vaccinations can be started.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if this vaccine passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: This medication is not recommended for children under 3 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between the pertussis - diphtheria toxoid - tetanus toxoid - poliomyelitis vaccine and any of the following:

  • acetaminophen
  • acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
  • immunosuppressants (medications used to treat cancer or autoimmune disease, or prevent organ rejection)
    • abatacept
    • azathioprine
    • corticosteroids (e.g., budesonide, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, fluticasone, prednisone)
    • cyclosporine
    • fingolimod
    • glatiramer
    • hydroxyurea
    • imiquimod
    • medications to treat cancer (e.g., carboplatin, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, ifosfamide, vincristine)
    • monoclonal antibodies (e.g., belimumab, eculizumab, golimumab, infliximab)
    • mycophenolate
    • siponimod
    • tacrolimus
    • tofacitinib
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs; e.g., diclofenac, ibuprofen, ketorolac, naproxen)
  • other vaccines
  • warfarin

If your child is taking any of these medications, speak with their doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your child's specific circumstances, your child's doctor may want your child to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how your child is taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that your child must stop taking one of them. Speak to your child's doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this vaccine. Tell your child's doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), supplements, and herbal medications your child is taking.

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