Cervical Cancer Home > Gardasil Precautions and Warnings

Some Gardasil precautions and warnings to be aware of include drug interactions, pregnancy risks, and allergic reactions. It is important to know that Gardasil is not meant to treat genital warts, cervical cancer, or precancerous growths, nor will the medication cure an HPV infection. Gardasil is designed to prevent -- not treat -- these problems. Prior to taking Gardasil, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about any Gardasil precautions and warnings that may apply to you.

Gardasil: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to taking Gardasil® (Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus [Types 6, 11, 16, and 18] Recombinant Vaccine), you should tell your healthcare provider if you have:
  • A fever or are feeling ill
  • A bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia or thrombocytopenia
  • A poorly functioning immune system (such as with HIV, AIDS, or cancer)
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Taking anticoagulants ("blood thinners")
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Also, tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Some Gardasil Warnings and Precautions

Some Gardasil warnings and precautions to be aware of include:
  • Gardasil can interact with certain medications (see Gardasil Drug Interactions).
  • Gardasil is considered a pregnancy Category B medicine. This means that Gardasil is probably safe for use during pregnancy. However, it is not recommended to use the Gardasil HPV vaccination during pregnancy, since the full risks of its use are not known. It is recommended to wait until after pregnancy to get the Gardasil vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about HPV and pregnancy (see Gardasil and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known whether Gardasil passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider. He or she can decide whether taking Gardasil while nursing makes sense for your particular situation.
  • Gardasil is not meant to treat genital warts, cervical cancer, or precancerous growths. Gardasil will not cure an HPV infection. Gardasil is not a cure for genital warts and will not improve the symptoms of genital warts. It is designed to prevent (not treat) these problems.
  • Gardasil will not protect against diseases that are not caused by HPV. HPV causes most (but not all) cases of cervical cancer.
  • The Gardasil vaccine has been shown to protect against HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18. Gardasil has not been shown to protect against other HPV types.


  • Gardasil is not intended to replace routine cervical cancer screening. Women who have received this vaccine still need regular cervical cancer screening. 


  • With all vaccines, there is a small risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction. Your healthcare provider should be ready in case an allergic reaction occurs.


  • As with other vaccines, fainting has been reported after some individuals were given Gardasil. It is recommended that patients be observed for 15 minutes after the vaccination, to make sure that fainting does not occur in a dangerous situation (such as while driving).


  • If your immune system is not functioning properly, Gardasil may not work as well for you. This includes people with HIV, AIDS, cancer, or people taking immune-suppressing medications.


  • Gardasil does not contain thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative). Individuals who are concerned about exposure to thimerosal can be confident that this vaccine has no thimerosal (not even trace amounts). Some people are concerned about aluminum content of vaccines; Gardasil contains 225 mcg (0.225 mg) of aluminum per dose.
  • This vaccine is not made from human fetal components or animal components, as some vaccines are.


  • Gardasil (as with all injections given into muscle) should be avoided if possible in people with bleeding disorders (such as hemophilia or thrombocytopenia) or people taking anticoagulants ("blood thinners"). These people are more likely to have bleeding under the skin and in the muscle. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether the benefits of taking Gardasil outweigh the risks of bleeding from the injection.
  • Routine cervical cancer screening (such as the Pap test or HPV test) is still recommended after getting the Gardasil vaccine.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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