Generic name: anthrax vaccine
Drug class: Bacterial vaccines
Medically reviewed by A Ras MD.
What is BioThrax?
BioThrax is a prescription medicine that is used to prevent anthrax.
BioThrax® (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed) is a sterile, milky-white suspension for intramuscular or subcutaneous injections made from cell-free filtrates of microaerophilic cultures of an avirulent, nonencapsulated strain of Bacillus anthracis. The production cultures are grown in a chemically defined protein-free medium consisting of a mixture of amino acids, vitamins, inorganic salts, and sugars. The final product, prepared from the sterile filtrate culture fluid contains proteins, including the 83kDa protective antigen (PA) protein, released during the growth period and contains no dead or live bacteria. The final product is formulated to contain 1.2 mg/mL aluminum, added as aluminum hydroxide in 0.85% sodium chloride. The final product is formulated to contain 25 mcg/mL benzethonium chloride and 100 mcg/mL formaldehyde, added as preservatives.
Mechanism of Action
Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the Gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. BioThrax induces antibodies raised against PA that may contribute to protection by neutralizing the activities of the cytotoxic lethal toxin and edema toxin of Bacillus anthracis.³ Bacillus anthracis proteins other than PA may be present in BioThrax, but their contribution to protection has not been determined.
Before taking BioThrax, tell your doctor:
- If you are allergic to BioThrax; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take BioThrax with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take BioThrax?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take BioThrax. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- If you have a latex allergy, talk with your doctor.
- This medicine may not protect all people who use it. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking BioThrax, call your doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is BioThrax best taken?
Use BioThrax as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin or a muscle.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
What are the side effects of BioThrax that I need to call my doctor about immediately?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
What are some other side effects of BioThrax?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Redness or swelling where the shot is given.
- Irritation where the shot is given.
- Trouble moving arm where the shot was given.
- Muscle pain.
- Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If overdose is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out BioThrax?
- If you need to store BioThrax at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
SRC: NLM .