Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting flu vaccinations when you have Behcet's

The question comes up every year: "I have Behcet's -- should I risk getting a flu shot?"

And just like clockwork, an article shows up in some medical journal or other to help you (and your doctors) make a decision. Granted, these articles never seem to specifically cover Behcet's, but the info is still useful.

The latest article (just published in September's issue of "Rheumatology") is called "Vaccinations in patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases." You can read the whole article for free online, and share it with other people, by going here:

The bottom line: Vaccinations against flu and pneumonia in people with inflammatory diseases may be helpful as long as they're not LIVE vaccines. Also, patients who are taking immunosuppressant meds may not have as strong an immune response to vaccines...that means they have a higher chance of getting the illness than someone who's been vaccinated and ISN'T taking immunosuppressant drugs. Regardless, if you have any questions about the safety of getting a flu shot when you have Behcet's, speak with your doctor(s) FIRST!!

Here are two other articles that you might find interesting:

An audit of influenza and pneumococcal vaccination in rheumatology outpatients
Sowden E, Mitchell WS.
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2007 Jul 4;8:58.

Vaccination in patients with chronic rheumatic or autoimmune diseases.
Gluck T, Müller-Ladner U.
Clin Infect Dis. 2008 May 1;46(9):1459-65. Review.
PMID: 18419456.

And how about vaccinations other than flu shots? Here are some extra articles and abstracts that you might want to read:

1: Bir LS, Esmeli FO, Cenikli U, Erdogan C, Degirmenci E.
Acute transverse myelitis at the conus medullaris level after rabies vaccination in a patient with Behcet's disease.
J Spinal Cord Med. 2007;30(3):294-6.
PubMed PMID: 17684898;

2: Erkek E, Ayaslioglu E, Erkek AB, Kurtipek GS, Bagci Y.
Response to vaccination against hepatitis B in patients with Behcet's disease.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Oct;20(10):1508-11.
PubMed PMID: 16174066.

3: Molloy ES, Powell FC, Doran MF, Ryan JG, Mulligan NJ, McCarthy CJ, Keogan MT,
McCarthy GM.
An unusual case of Behcet's syndrome: triggered by typhoid vaccination?
Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2004 Jul-Aug;22(4 Suppl 34):S71-4.
PubMed PMID: 15515791.