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Boostrix is a type of vaccine used to help prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. It is used in people age 10 to 64 years old and works by tricking the body into thinking it has been exposed to one of these diseases, thereby forcing the body to produce the antibodies needed to fight these conditions. Potential side effects include headaches, fatigue, and swelling.

What Is Boostrix?

Boostrix® (Tdap vaccine) is a vaccine approved for use as a "booster" to help prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) in people age 10 and older.
(Click Boostrix Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Thimerosal Content and Other Concerns

Boostrix does not contain thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative). Individuals who are concerned about exposure to thimerosal can be confident that this vaccine has no thimerosal (not even trace amounts). Some people are concerned about aluminum content of vaccines; Boostrix contains no more than 0.39 mg of aluminum per dose.
This vaccine is not made from human fetal components, as some vaccines are. It is, however, made from bovine (cow) components.

Who Makes This Medicine?

Boostrix is made by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics for GlaxoSmithKline.

How Does It Work?

Boostrix contains diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis antigens. Toxoids are bacterial toxins that have been detoxified. Although the toxoids will not cause the actual disease, they stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to the toxin.
"Antigen" is the generic term for substances that cause the body to produce an immune response and antibodies. Boostrix contains three different pertussis antigens that have been detoxified.
Basically, the antigens and toxoids in Boostrix "trick" the body into thinking it has been exposed to diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. The body produces antibodies that will help fight these diseases if future exposure occurs.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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