Some of the views expressed in the following notes on newly approved products should be regarded as preliminary, as there may have been limited published data at the time of publication, and little experience in Australia of their safety or efficacy. However, the Editorial Executive Committee believes that comments made in good faith at an early stage may still be of value. Before new drugs are prescribed, the Committee believes it is important that more detailed information is obtained from the manufacturer's approved product information, a drug information centre or some other appropriate source.

Mencevax ACWY (Smith KIine Beecham)

monodose and multidose vials containing lyophilised vaccine for reconstitution

Indication: meningitis prophylaxis

Meningococci are divided into serologic groups by the different antigens in their capsular polysaccharides. Serious disease is caused by groups A, B, C, W and Y. The previously available vaccine contained purified polysaccharides from groups A and C only.

The reformulated vaccine is approved for use in controlling epidemics or immunising the contacts of patients infected with A, C, W 135 or Y meningococci. Travellers to countries where the disease is endemic or highly epidemic can also be immunised.

Little data are available on the use of the vaccine in children under 14 years of age and there are no data on the protective efficacy of the antibody response to the added W 135 and Y polysaccharides. The vaccine offers no protection against infection by other groups.

Local reactions to the vaccine occur in a majority of patients and may be more frequent in children.