Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccine
WHY is this medicine prescribed?
The BCG vaccine provides immunity or protection against tuberculosis (TB). The vaccine can be given to people at high risk of developing TB. It is also used to treat bladder tumors or bladder cancer.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
HOW should this medicine be used?
Your doctor or healthcare provider will administer this medication. When used to protect against TB, it is injected into the skin. Keep the vaccination area dry for 24 hours after receiving the vaccine, and keep the area clean until you can no longer distinguish the vaccination area from the surrounding skin.
When used for bladder cancer, the medicine flows into the bladder through a tube or catheter. Avoid drinking liquids for 4 hours before your treatment. You must empty your bladder before treatment. For the first hour after the medication is infused, you will lie on your stomach, on your back, and on your side for 15 minutes each. Then it will stop, but you must keep the medicine in your bladder for another hour. If you cannot keep the medicine in your bladder for the full 2 hours, tell your healthcare provider. After 2 hours, you will empty your bladder in a sitting position for safety reasons. Your urine should be disinfected for 6 hours after administering the medication. Pour a similar amount of undiluted bleach down the toilet after urinating. Let stand for 15 minutes before rinsing.
Various dosing schedules can be used. Your doctor will schedule your treatment. Ask your doctor to explain any addresses you do not understand.
When the vaccine is given to protect against TB, it is usually given only once, but can be repeated if there is no good response within 2-3 months. Response is measured by a TB skin test.
What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?
Before receiving BCG vaccine,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to BCG vaccine or any other medications.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking, especially antibiotics, cancer chemotherapy, steroids, tuberculosis medications, and vitamins.
- Tell your doctor if you have recently been vaccinated against smallpox or if you have had a positive TB test.
- Tell your doctor if you have an immune disorder, cancer, fever, infection, or a severe burn area on your body.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking the BCG vaccine, call your doctor immediately.
What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?
BCG vaccine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- swollen lymph nodes
- small red areas at the site of injection. (These usually appear 10-14 days after injection and slowly decrease in size. They should disappear after about 6 months.)
- blood in the urine
- frequent or painful urination
- upset stomach
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- severe skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, call 911 immediately.
What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory.
- TheraCys® BCG
- TICE® BCG
- BCG live
- BCG vaccine
Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.