Cervarix – Vaccine Against Types Of Cancer Causing HPV

Cervarix Discontinued

October 21, 2016: No longer available in the United States

Cervical Cancer Prevention

An FDA Advisory Committee met September 9th, 2009, to discuss the approval of Glaxo Smith Kline’s human papillomavirus vaccine, or HPV vaccine, Cervarix.  The committee voted to recommend Cervarix as a safe and effective HPV vaccine against HPV strains 16 and 18 in females from 10 years to 26 years. (Corbett Dooren, Wall Street Journal, 9/9/2009)

Cervarix has been reported to prevent 93% of the 2 main  HPV strains which cause approximately 70% of cervical cancers.  The HPV strains 16 and 18 have long been known to be a cause of cervical cancer in women.  (Women’s Health Policy Report, 9/8/2009)

Cervarix does not protect against other types of HPV known to cause genital warts.  It’s competitor, Gardasil is manufactured by Merck.  Gardasil does protect against genital warts as well as vaccination against HPV strains 16 and 18 to prevent cervical cancer.

Cervarix is already being administered in many European countries but it’s approval as an HPV vaccination has been delayed in the United States after the FDA requested further studies.  Some studies had previously shown higher numbers of muscle problems as well as neurological problems and higher numbers of miscarriages in users of Cervarix.

Since 2007, additional studies have shown that the neurological and muscular problems reported were not caused by Cervarix and that the miscarriages did not signal a relationship between Cervarix and elevated miscarriage risk.  (Women’s Health Policy Report, AP/Detroit Free Press, (9/5/2009)

If the FDA approves Cervarix for use as an HPV vaccine in the United States, the CDC will then develop recommendations for routine vaccinations of females.  Insurance companies usually wait for the CDC recommendations before they decide how much, if any, of the vaccination cost, will be covered by the insurance company.

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