Influenza vaccine found to be safe for people with autoimmune neuromuscular disorders

A recent study published in Muscle & Nerve appears to show that the influenza vaccination is safe to use for those with autoimmune neuromuscular disorders.

The study, titled "Influenza vaccination of patients with autoimmune neuromuscular disorders: A web- based survey of current practices and perceptions", was conducted by Tess Litchman, Richard Nowak, and Bhaskar Roy of New Haven, CT. They performed a web-based survey among neurologists across the United States to explore current practices regarding the recommendation of flu shot for patients with myasthenia gravis (MG), chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), or Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS).

The abstract for this study was published in the 2019 American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) Abstract Guide, which was presented at the 2019 AANEM Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas this October. Litchman was named a Medical Student award recipient, which is bestowed by the AANEM's American Neuromuscular Foundation. The foundation funds research that helps identify cures and treatments for neuromuscular diseases. Litchman is a member of AANEM through the Training Program Partnership at Yale. The TPP provides free membership to AANEM through any neurology or physiatry medical school program that signs up with the association.

In the study, a total of 6448 MG, 2310 CIDP, and 1907 GBS patients were followed across practice settings. Respondents reported recommending a flu shot either for all or for >50% of patients in 95%, 84%, and 67% of their MG, CIDP, and GBS patients, respectively. Temporal association of disease relapse with flu shot was reported in 1.6%, 4%, and 9% of MG, CIDP, and GBS patients, respectively.

These results provided the conclusion that Influenza vaccination was perceived to be safe in the majority of patients with autoimmune neuromuscular disorders. Neurologists appeared to be more conservative in recommending immunization for patients with a history of GBS. Temporally associated disease relapses appeared to be a risk factor for relapse with subsequent immunization.

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