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J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2008 Jan-Feb;48(1):e1-13; quiz e14-7. doi: 10.1331/JAPhA/2008.07032.

Human papillomavirus vaccine and cervical cancer prevention: practice and policy implications for pharmacists.

Author information

  • 1Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, USA. j.mcintosh@neu.edu



To review the epidemiology and natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV), summarize relevant clinical trials of the prophylactic HPV vaccines, and describe the practice and policy implications that HPV vaccine represents for pharmacists.


Search of Medline through June 2007 using keywords human papillomavirus vaccine, Gardasil, and Cervarix; meeting abstracts; bibliographies from selected articles; and National Institutes of Health clinical trials registry.


English language review articles, clinical trials, and published abstracts were considered for inclusion.


HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that is necessary for the development of cervical cancer, and types 16 and 18 are associated with 70% of cases of invasive cervical cancer worldwide. A quadrivalent prophylactic vaccine against HPV-6, -11, -16, and -18 is currently available, and a bivalent vaccine targeting HPV-16 and -18 is under review by the Food and Drug Administration. Both are highly effective at preventing persistent HPV infection and precancerous lesions caused by vaccine-specific HPV. HPV vaccine is currently indicated for girls aged 9 to 26 years, but ongoing trials are evaluating the efficacy in other populations. Implementation of a vaccine administration program is an area of opportunity for new policies to include pharmacists in the administration of prophylactic HPV vaccines. Pharmacists are allowed to administer vaccinations in 46 states and can potentially play a role in HPV vaccine administration. For this to happen, however, multiple legal and regulatory changes must occur.


Prophylactic HPV vaccines safely and effectively prevent HPV infection and precancerous lesions in the cervix. The availability of these vaccines also create new clinical opportunities for community pharmacists, provided needed legal, regulatory, and policy changes are made.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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