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Other drug names: A-Am An-Az B C-Ch Ci-Cz D-Dh Di-Dz E F G H I-J K-L M-Mh Mi-Mz N-Nh Ni-Nz O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q-R S-Sn So-Sz T-To Tp-Tz U-V W-Z 0-9   

Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoids and Pertussis Vaccine Adsorbed (Systemic)

Brand Names

In the U.S.-

  • Acel-Imune
  • Certiva
  • Infanrix
  • Tripedia

In Canada-

  • Infanrix

Other commonly used names are acellular DTP; DTaP; DTP; DTwP; whole-cell DTP.


  • Immunizing agent, active


Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis (dif-THEER-ee-a and TET-n-us and per-TUS-iss) vaccine (also known as DTP) is a combination immunizing agent given by injection to prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

Diphtheria is a serious illness that can cause breathing difficulties, heart problems, nerve damage, pneumonia, and possibly death. The risk of serious complications and death is greater in very young children and in the elderly.

Tetanus (also known as lockjaw) is a serious illness that causes convulsions (seizures) and severe muscle spasms that can be strong enough to cause bone fractures of the spine. Tetanus causes death in 30 to 40 percent of cases.

Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is a serious disease that causes severe spells of coughing that can interfere with breathing. Pertussis also can cause pneumonia, long-lasting bronchitis, seizures, brain damage, and death.

Immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis is recommended for all infants and children from 2 months of age up to their 7th birthday. Children 7 years of age and older and adults should receive immunizing agents that contain only diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and not pertussis vaccine. Adults should receive the diphtheria and tetanus injections every 10 years for the rest of their lives.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases that can cause life-threatening illnesses. Although some serious side effects can occur after a dose of DTP (usually from the pertussis vaccine in DTP), this rarely happens. The chance of your child catching one of these diseases and being permanently injured or dying as a result is much greater than the chance of your child getting a serious side effect from the DTP vaccine.

DTP is available in the following dosage form:

  • Injection (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

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 DTP, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if your child has ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, pertussis vaccine, or DTP. Also tell your health care professional if your child is allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives.

Pregnancy- Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals.

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

Children- Use is not recommended for infants up to 2 months of age.

Teenagers- Use is not recommended for persons older than 7 years of age.

Older adults- Use is not recommended for persons older than 7 years of age.

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of DTP. Make sure you tell your doctor if your child has any other medical problems, especially:
  • Allergic reaction to a previous dose of DTP or
  • Brain disease or
  • Fever-Use of DTP may make the condition worse or may increase the chance of side effects

Proper Use of This Medicine


The dose of DTP will be different for different patients. The following information includes only the average doses of DTP.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • For prevention of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis:
      • Adults and children 7 years of age and older-Use is not recommended.
      • Children 2 months to 7 years of age-One dose every four to eight weeks for a total of three doses, then a fourth dose six to twelve months after the third dose. A booster dose should be given at 4, 5, or 6 years of age. (The booster dose is given only if the fourth dose was given before the child's 4th birthday.)

Precautions While Using This Medicine

At the time of the DTP injection, your doctor may give your child a dose of acetaminophen (or another medicine that helps prevent fever). This is to help prevent some of the side effects of DTP. Your doctor may also want your child to take this medicine every 4 hours for 24 hours after your child receives the DTP injection. Check with your doctor if you have any questions.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Side Effects of This Vaccine

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. It is very important that you tell your doctor about any side effect that occurs after a dose of DTP , even though the side effect may have gone away without treatment. Some types of side effects may mean that your child should not receive any more doses of DTP.

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

  • Less frequent
    • Collapse;  crying for 3 or more hours 

  • Rare
    • Confusion;  convulsions (seizures);  difficulty in breathing or swallowing;  fever of 105 °F (40.5 °C) or more;  headache (severe or continuing);  hives;  irritability (unusual);  itching, especially of feet or hands;  periods of unconsciousness or lack of awareness;  reddening of skin, especially around ears;  sleepiness (unusual and continuing);  swelling of eyes, face, or inside of nose;  unusual tiredness, weakness (sudden and severe);  vomiting (severe or continuing) 

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away as your child's body adjusts to the vaccine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

  • More common
    • Fever between 100.4 and 102.2 °F (38 and 39 °C) (may occur with fretfulness, drowsiness, vomiting, and loss of appetite);  lump at place of injection (may be present for a few weeks after injection);  redness, swelling, tenderness, or pain at place of injection 

  • Less common
    • Fever between 102.2 and 104 °F (39 and 40 °C) (may occur with fretfulness, drowsiness, vomiting, and loss of appetite) 

  • Rare
    • Fever between 104 and 105 °F (40 and 40.5 °C) (may occur with fretfulness, drowsiness, vomiting, and loss of appetite);  skin rash;  swollen glands on side of neck (following DTP injection into arm) 

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