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Poliovirus Vaccine Live Oral (Systemic)

Brand Names

In the U.S.-

  • Orimune


  • Immunizing agent (active)


Poliovirus ( poe-lee-oh VYE-russ) vaccine live oral (OPV) is an active immunizing agent used to prevent poliomyelitis (polio). It works by causing your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the virus that causes polio.

Polio is a very serious infection that can cause death. In survivors of poliovirus infection, polio causes paralysis of the muscles, including the muscles that enable you to walk and breathe. A polio infection may leave a person unable to breathe without the help of an iron lung, unable to walk without leg braces, or confined to a wheelchair. There is no cure for polio.

Immunization against polio is recommended for all infants from 6 to 12 weeks of age, all children, all adolescents up to 18 years of age, and certain adults who are at greater risk for exposure to polioviruses than the general population.

This vaccine is to be administered only by or under the supervision of your doctor or other health care professional. It is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Oral solution (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

For a while after you are immunized, there is a very small risk that any persons living in your household who have not yet been immunized against polio or who have or had an immune deficiency condition may develop poliomyelitis (polio) from being around you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about this.

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For poliovirus vaccine live oral (OPV), the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to polio vaccine or to neomycin, polymyxin B, or streptomycin. The polio vaccines available in the U.S. and Canada may contain neomycin, polymyxin B, and/or streptomycin. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Diet- Make certain your health care professional knows if you are on any special diet, such as a low-sugar diet, because the OPV may be given to you on a sugar cube.

Pregnancy- Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals. However, this vaccine has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in humans. Although it is not recommended for all pregnant women, OPV is given to pregnant women who are at great risk of catching polio.

Breast-feeding- OPV has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children- In the U.S. and Canada, use of OPV is not recommended for infants up to 6 weeks of age; however, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends OPV vaccination at birth. For infants and children 6 weeks of age and older, OPV is not expected to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults.

Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of OPV in the elderly with use in other age groups, this vaccine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older persons than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Before you receive OPV, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are receiving or have received any of the following:

  • Cancer medicines or
  • Corticosteroids (cortisone-like medicines) or
  • Radiation therapy-May reduce the useful effect of the vaccine

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of polio vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
  • Diarrhea or
  • Virus infection or
  • Vomiting-The condition may reduce the useful effect of the vaccine
  • Fever or
  • Illness (moderate or severe) or
  • Weakness (severe)-The symptoms of the condition may be confused with possible side effects of the vaccine
  • Immune deficiency condition (or family history of)-The condition may increase the chance of side effects of the vaccine

Proper Use of This Medicine


The dose of poliovirus vaccine live oral (OPV) will be different for different patients. The following information includes only the average doses of polio vaccine.

  • For prevention of polio:
    • For Oral dosage form:
      • Adults and children 18 years of age and older-One dose is given at your first visit, then a second dose is given six to eight weeks later. A third dose is given six to twelve months after the second dose.
      • Infants and children up to 18 years of age-One dose is given at your first visit, then a second dose is given six to eight weeks later. A third dose is given eight to twelve months after the second dose. A booster dose is given at four to six years of age only if the third dose was given before the child's fourth birthday. The doses are taken by mouth.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

Tell your doctor that you have received this vaccine if you are to receive any other live virus vaccines within 1 month after receiving this vaccine.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Side Effects of This Vaccine

In very rare instances, healthy persons who have taken the poliovirus vaccine live oral (OPV) and healthy persons who are close contacts of adults or children who have taken OPV have been infected by the polio virus and have become paralyzed.

Along with its needed effects, a vaccine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Symptoms of allergic reaction
    • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing;  hives;  itching, especially of feet or hands;  reddening of skin, especially around ears;  swelling of eyes, face, or inside of nose;  unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe) 

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT