Should you take medicine before you get your vaccine?

Should you take medicine before you get your vaccine?

We know vaccines – including the COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered under emergency use authorization (EUA) in the fight against COVID-19 – can come with side effects. These side effects are common and are actually good news. Pain and swelling at the injection site, along with fever, chills, headache and fatigue, are showing your immune system is responding appropriately to the vaccine.  These side effects, which seem to be more common in younger people and usually last 1-2 days, are largely an indication of a healthy immune system.

While it may seem tempting to take premedication, like ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) to prevent these side effects, this is not currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Taking these medications before getting your immunization may mask the symptoms of an allergic reaction. And if you’re having an allergic reaction, we want to know about it, because it might require medical intervention or signal that you’re not a good candidate to receive a second dose of vaccine.

Another consideration is that taking premedication could theoretically reduce the antibody response to the vaccine. While one study published last spring showed taking ibuprofen blunted the antibody response of those who developed COVID-19 infection, this has not yet been studied with the COVID-19 vaccines. There is currently no scientific evidence that premedication will make the COVID-19 vaccines less effective.

So, when can you take medications? If after taking the vaccine you feel your symptoms remain unmanageable, call your physician to determine what medications are best for you to take. If approved by your physician, taking medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to manage side effects after your vaccine should make you feel better and should not affect your response to the vaccine.

If you want to learn more about the vaccine, click here.

Dr. Robert Citronberg is Executive Medical Director of Infectious Disease and Prevention for Advocate Aurora Health.

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Comments

16 Comments

  1. So if “These side effects are common and are actually good news… are largely an indication of a healthy immune system.” – what does it mean if you have no symptoms after receiving the vaccine?

    I have not had any side effects or symptoms after receiving both of the Modera vaccines, does that mean that my immune system is not ‘healthy’ and not responding as it should?

  2. How about addressing regular daily meds people take. For BP, cholesterol, low dose aspirin, etc.

  3. What about Prednisone for auto immune disease???

  4. What about taking my blood pressure, thyroid, heart burn prescriptions prior to getting the Covid 19 shot??

  5. I’d like to know the answers to the question above regarding regular daily meds as well! Thanks in advance.

  6. May I take HPB med beforehand?

  7. May I take HBP medicine before appointment?

  8. Can I take my blood pressure meds & cholesterol meds before vaccine
    I also take many other meds

    • Can I take my daily medications…
      Cholesterol
      Osteoporosis
      High Blood Pressure
      Asthma
      Diabetes
      Please respond…
      Thanking you in advance 🙏🏾

  9. Can I take my thyroid medicine.

  10. I would also like to know about taking my regular medications and Benadryl is part of my daily routine due to my allergies to certain foods.

  11. Can I take ibuprofen after the shot to get relief from pain?

  12. Sharron Reichling February 24, 2021 at 12:09 pm · Reply

    I see my question has been asked about taking blood pressure medicine but didn’t find any reply to answer. Also what about a cortisone shot. Who knows when I will be fortunate enough to ever get the vaccination

  13. for petes sake can ANYONE PLEASE answer these questions. ! is there Anyone from advocate who monitors these posts???

  14. You say you are vaccinating healthcare workers and the most vulnerable folks. Who are they? I’m 81, have afib, 3rd stage kidney failure and hypertension. Also. prostate cancer survivor. Haven’t heard a peep from Advocate Aurora!

  15. I am also scheduled to get an MMR vaccine the same day..approx. 2 hours after the COVID immunization. Is this safe?

About the Author

Dr. Robert Citronberg
Dr. Robert Citronberg

Dr. Robert Citronberg is Executive Medical Director of Infectious Disease and Prevention for Advocate Aurora Health.