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Uses|Precautions & warnings|Side effects|Interactions|Dosage


What is Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine) used for?

Varilrix® is used for protection against infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). This vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine and works by introducing a weak form of the virus that the body’s immune system will produce antibodies against the virus and prevent infection.

Varicella (commonly known as chickenpox) is an infection that is easily spread from one person to another. Chickenpox is usually a mild infection but sometimes it can cause serious problems, such as pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, and a rare disease called Reye’s syndrome.

The varicella virus vaccine is also used for the prevention of herpes zoster (commonly known as shingles) in people 50 years of age and older.

How should I take Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine)?

This vaccine is administered only by or under the supervision of your doctor.

How do I store Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine)?

Varilrix® is best stored in the refrigerator. To prevent drug damage, do not freeze. There may be different brands of Varilrix® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Varilrix® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine)?

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also, tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

Varicella virus vaccine is not recommended for children under 9 months of age.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?


Pregnant women should not receive live vaccines and pregnancy should be avoided for one month after receiving a live vaccine. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Varilrix®. Varilrix® is a pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown


Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine)?

These side effects may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Pain, redness, or soreness where vaccine was injected

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in the urine or stools
  • Confusion
  • Fever over 39°C orally
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • Rash similar to chickenpox
  • Severe or continuing headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Swelling of the glands
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Vomiting

Seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • Blistering or peeling skin
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Signs of a serious allergic reaction:
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • Hives
    • Itching, especially of the feet or hands
    • Reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
    • Swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
    • Unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine)?

Varilrix® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products may interact with this drug, including:

  • Antineoplastic or chemotherapy medications (e.g., methotrexate)
  • Corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone, prednisone)
  • Dimethyl fumarate
  • Immune globulin
  • Immunosuppressants (e.g., azathioprine, cyclosporine, fingolimod, hydroxychloroquine, leflunomide, tacrolimus)
  • Other live vaccines (e.g. MMR, influenza)
  • Aalicylates (e.g., ASA, aminosalicylic acid)
  • Varicella zoster immune globulin

Does food or alcohol interact with Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine)?

Varilrix® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine)?

Varilrix® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine).

What is the dose of Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine) for an adult?

Adults and adolescents 13 years of age receive a dose of 0.5 ml followed by a second 0.5 ml dose a minimum of 6 weeks later.

What is the dose of Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine) for a child?

Children 12 months to 12 years of age receive a single dose of 0.5 ml. A second dose of varicella vaccine may be recommended. Your doctor will decide if this is necessary.

How is Varilrix® (Varicella vaccine) available?

Varilrix® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Varilrix® vaccine 1 dose (vial + diluent 0.5 ml/amp)

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Varilrix®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Varilrix® Product Information. https://au.gsk.com/media/365011/varilrix_pi_009_01_approved.pdf. Accessed July 4, 2020

Varilrix®. https://www.mims.com/philippines/drug/info/varilrix. Accessed July 4, 2020

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Medically reviewed by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD
Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD
Updated Jul 30, 2020