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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Quick Drug Information (DrugNotes) > Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus Vaccine (Dtap) (Injection)

Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus Vaccine (Dtap) (Injection)

Given to babies and young children to prevent diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough).

Brand Name(s):

Tripedia, Infanrix
There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine should not be given to a child who has had an allergic reaction to DTP vaccine (DTaP vaccine) or to individual diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis vaccines, or to thimerosal or gelatin. This medicine should not be given to a child who has previously had a severe reaction to DTP vaccines (DTaP vaccine) that included seizures or loss of consciousness that lasted several hours and occurred within 7 days of receiving the vaccine.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • This medicine is given only to children from the age of 6 weeks old up to the child's 7th birthday.
  • Your child's doctor will prescribe the exact dose and tell you how often it should be given.
  • An intramuscular (in-tra-MUS-kyoo-ler) or IM injection is a shot given in the muscle of the upper arm, thigh, or buttocks.
  • The doctor, nurse, or other caregiver trained to give injections will give the shot.
  • This medicine is usually given as a series of 5 shots, although the schedule for your child may vary. In general, your child will receive the first dose at about 6 weeks to 2 months of age. The second dose is given 4 to 8 weeks later. The third dose is given 4 to 8 weeks after the second. A fourth dose (booster dose) is given at 15 to 20 months of age. The fifth dose is given about the time your child starts kindergarten, around 4 to 6 years old. Ask your doctor about your child's schedule, since it could be different.
  • Your doctor may give your child Tylenol® when he or she receives this vaccination, to help reduce possible side effects. The doctor may also tell you to continue giving the child Tylenol® over the next 24 hours.
  • Your child may receive other vaccinations at the same time as this one. You should receive other information sheets on those vaccinations. Make sure you understand all the information given to you.

If a dose is missed:

  • It is important that your child receive all of the shots in this series. Try to keep all scheduled appointments.
  • If your child must miss a shot, make another appointment with the doctor 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.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if your child has recently received immune globulin or if your child is using blood thinners or any medicine that suppresses the immune system, such as corticosteroids or medicines to treat cancer or arthritis.
Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if your child has had a severe reaction to previous vaccinations or if your child has any problems involving the nervous system, such as seizures. Also tell the doctor if anyone in your immediate family has a history of seizures. These could increase the chances of serious side effects. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if your child has any blood-clotting problems or is allergic to latex rubber.
  • Tell your doctor if your child has or has recently had an illness or infection (such as a cold or the flu), especially if your child has a fever. Your doctor may want to wait until the child is better before giving the vaccination.
  • Patients who have problems with their immune systems, such as those who are getting medicine like prednisone, receiving chemotherapy for cancer, or who have HIV infection or AIDS, may not be fully protected by this vaccine. Because there may be some benefit, your child's doctor may still want to give the vaccine.
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 face or hands, swelling or tingling in the mouth or throat, tightness in chest, trouble breathing
  • Crying constantly for 3 hours or more
  • Fever of 105° or higher
  • Seizures or convulsions, loss of consciousness, sudden and severe weakness or limpness, severe numbness, or excessive sleepiness

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

  • Fussiness or drowsiness
  • Low fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, or a lump where the shot was given
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.

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