The FDA recently approved Cervarix (human papillomavirus bivalent types 16 and 18 vaccine, recombinant), a vaccine indicated forprevention of cervical cancer, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse and adenocarcinoma in situ, and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 1, caused by oncogenic human papillomavirustypes 16 and 18, in females ages 10 through 25. There are more than 100 types of human papillomavirus, of which more than 30 are transmitted by sexual contact. Some strains of HPV cause abnormal uterinelining cell growth that can progress to cancer. HPV is the leading underlying cause of cervical cancer – the second most common cancer in women.
Cervarix has a wider indication for females thanGardasil (quadrivalent human papillomavirus types 6, 11, 16, 18 recombinant vaccine) because it is approved for treatment of HPV as well as prevention. Gardasil, however, recently was approved as theonly vaccine for the prevention of genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11 among boys and men ages 9 through 26.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 6.2 million Americansbecome infected with genital HPV annually and more than half of all sexually active men and women will become infected during their lifetimes. Fortunately, for most infected women, the body’s immune systemclears the virus and prevents progression to cancerous lesion development.
The main problem with HPV is that many infected individuals are asymptomatic and unknowingly expose their partners tothe virus. Having sex at an early age, having multiple partners, or having sex with a partner who has had multiple partners increases risk for HPV.
Available as an injectable vaccine delivered intothe upper arm, Cervarix is administered as a series of three doses. The vaccine series may begin at any time, the second dose one month later, and the third dose six months after the first dose is...