Immune Responses to Flu Vaccine Diminished in People with Lupus - However Vaccinations Still RecommendedJuly 31, 2009
A new study published in the August issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism found that immune responses to the seasonal flu vaccine are diminished in people with lupus. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from The Netherlands.
According to members of the Lupus Foundation of America Medical-Scientific Advisory Council, the information provided in the article is a replication and validation of previous studies done in this area. Previous studies have shown that antibody production following flu vaccination is lower in lupus patients than in the general population. What is new about this study is that the researchers also found diminished activity among specific T-cells which are required for immunization against the flu virus. The researchers said this lower response was likely due to the medications that people with lupus take to control the disease.
Because morbidity and mortality related to influenza are increased in immunocompromised patients, it is recommended that patients with lupus get annual flu shots, which are safe and do not increase disease activity. Most people with lupus respond well enough to vaccines to provide them with protection from infection. Therefore, people with lupus should receive all vaccines that are safe (any that contain killed viruses or bacteria or proteins from infectious agent).
For people who are taking more than 10 mg of prednisone a day, or who are on Cellcept, Myfortic, Imuran, Cytoxan, methotrexate, and Arava, they should follow the advice of their physician before taking any vaccine that contains live, attenuated viruses or bacteria, such as FluMist or the shingles vaccines.
Read the press release about this study.
On the LFA website: