Health Guide

Human papillomavirus vaccine (By injection)

Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HUE-man pap-ah-LOH-mah-VYE-rus VAX-een)

Helps prevent genital warts and cancer of the anus, cervix, vagina, or vulva, which may be caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).

Brand Name(s):

Gardasil, Gardasil 9

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This vaccine is not right for everyone. You should not receive it if you had an allergic reaction to human papillomavirus vaccine or to yeast.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot into one of your muscles.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
  • This vaccine must be given as 2 or 3 doses based on the brand.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Missed dose: This vaccine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss your scheduled shot, call your doctor to make another appointment as soon as possible.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how this vaccine works. Tell your doctor if you are using any treatment that weakens the immune system, such as cancer medicine, radiation treatment, or a steroid.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have a weak immune system or are allergic to latex.
  • This vaccine will not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases that are not caused by HPV.
  • You still need to see your doctor for routine screening tests for anal or cervical cancer even after you receive this vaccine.
  • You may feel faint, lightheaded, or dizzy right after you receive this vaccine. Your doctor may ask you to wait 15 minutes before standing.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache, tiredness
  • Mild fever
  • Pain, redness, itching, or swelling where the shot is given

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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