FDA Approves HPV Vaccine for Cancer Prevention

Gardasil 9 human papillomavirus vaccine may prevent cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers

(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved a vaccine to prevent several types of cancer associated with human papillomavirus (HPV).

Gardasil 9 was approved to prevent several diseases caused by nine types of HPV. Those diseases include cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers.

“Vaccination is a critical public health measure for lowering the risk of most cervical, genital and anal cancers caused by HPV,” said Karen Midthun, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a press release. “The approval of Gardasil 9 provides broader protection against HPV-related cancers."

HPV is a type of sexually transmitted virus. According to the FDA, more than half of people who have had sex may have HPV. Some types of HPV raise patients' risk of certain cancers.

The FDA approved Gardasil 9 to prevent several cancers associated with HPV in 9- to 26-year-old females and 9- to 15-year-old males.

This approval came after a study of about 14,000 girls and women who received Gardasil 9. The vaccine proved 97 percent effective in preventing vaginal, cervical and vulvar cancers, as well as nine types of HPV. The vaccine produced similar results in other studies that included males.

The vaccine's predecessor, Gardasil, prevented anal cancer. That benefit is thought to apply to Gardasil 9 as well.

Some common negative side effects of Gardasil 9 include pain at the injection site, swelling, redness and headaches.

Merck, Sharp & Dohme Corp. produces Gardasil 9.

Review Date: 
December 10, 2014