Is an Accelerated Schedule of Twinrix Right for You?

Accelerated TwinRix scheduleTwinrix vaccine protects against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. It is available in standard and accelerated dosing. Use this comparison of schedules and costs to determine whether a standard or accelerated schedule of Twinrix is right for you.

What is Twinrix anyway?

Twinrix is a combination Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccine (A+B) manufactured by GalaxoSmithKline (GSK) designed to protect adults over age 18 against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.  You get both vaccines but only one shot or needle per dose. The alternative is to receive the Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines separately.

Twinrix is a very convenient vaccine, with less discomfort and approximately the same cost as Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B vaccines given separately over the same period of time.

Why use Twinrix?

The best use for Twinrix is the traveler departing on short notice who wants protection from both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. Twinrix has a FDA approved accelerated dosing schedule that completes the initial series in 4 weeks, compared to 6 months for standard dosing.  However, if you use the accelerated dosing schedule you will need a boost in 12 months to develop lasting, life-long immunity.

Using the standard schedule you will experience less injection pain with Twinrix compared to the standard separate dosing of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines given over 6 months; you will need only 3 injections with the combination A+B vaccine vs. 5 injections for the Hepatitis A & B vaccines when given separately.

 

Below is a comparison of Twinrix (A+B) accelerated dosing schedule, standard dosing schedule and Standard Hepatitis A & B given separately:

Schedule Options Dose 1 Dose 2 Dose 3 Dose 4
AcceleratedCombination (A+B) Day 0 7 days later 21-28 days from initial dose 12 months from initial dose
StandardCombination  (A +B) Day 0 1 month later 6 months later
StandardSeparate Hepatitis A Hepatitis B Day 0Hepatitis AHepatitis B 1 month laterHepatitis B 6 months laterHepatitis AHepatitis B

 

Your choice affects your final cost.  If you have time standard dosing is your best option.  If you are leaving soon, your total cost may be higher, but not getting ill while traveling, may be worth it. Especially when you consider Hepatitis A is very common worldwide and Hepatitis B can become a chronic infection leading to liver cancer.

 

Cost:

Retail costs of vaccines vary across the USA.  Typical costs of Twinrix range from $140-170 per dose. Naturally the accelerated schedule will cost more than the standard schedule (4 doses vs. 3 doses).  To complete the accelerated schedule with combination Hepatitis A+B cost will be $640 vs. standard dosing of $480 (assuming $160/dose) If you were to get your Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines separately over 6 months you typically would pay  $450-$500 for the series- about the same price as combination Hepatitis A+B given over the same period. So it really boils down to personal preference.

 

Side Effects:

Fortunately the reported common side effects of the combination Hepatitis A+BHepatitis Aand Hepatitis B are rather mild.  About a third of people experience some soreness at the site of the vaccine and headaches for a few days afterwards. A detailed discussion of side effects is available at the CDC.

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and combination Hepatitis A+B vaccines are typically well tolerated and very protective. The accelerated schedule of the combination Twinrix is very helpful in protecting travelers who are leaving on short notice.

Of course, as with any vaccine, you will want to discuss the specifics of your health, travel plans and preferences with your doctor before selecting your Hepatitis vaccines.

Photo by Melissa

You may also enjoy:

Have you considered Twinrix? Did you use an accelerated schedule? Share your experiences.