Thursday, October 3, 2013

A new study on the impact of influenza vaccinations on Behcet's patients

The results of a new study on how BD patients react to flu vaccinations will be presented in San Diego at the ACR/ARHP (American College of Rheumatology/Association of Reproductive Health Professionals) Congress at the end of October 2013.

Keep in mind that results presented at conferences aren't always final, haven't been published yet and may contain errors! If you have questions about anything you read here — especially whether your current health or meds may cause issues if you get a flu shot — please speak with your doctor(s).


85 BD patients and 85 healthy people received unadjuvanted [defined at the bottom] flu shots and were monitored for 21 days afterwards.

  1. BD patients developed antibodies from the shot significantly LESS often than healthy people (69% vs 83%).
  2. The BD patients who developed fewer antibodies had more active BD symptoms at the time of the shot (73% vs 39%).
  3. It didn't make any difference to the outcome if the BD patients were taking corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or TNF-blockers at the time they got the shot. It also didn't matter if they'd just developed BD recently or had had it for decades.
  4. BD patients had significantly more mild/fleeting side effects from the shot than healthy people: fever (7% vs 0%), headache (27% vs 12%), joint pain (24% vs 0.2%) and muscle pain (25% vs. 9%). None of the BD patients reported moderate or severe side effects.
The researchers concluded that flu shots aren't as effective for some BDers if they're having a high number of active BD symptoms at the time of the shot, but they still recommend getting the shot anyway. They still need to determine if BD patients would get any benefit from a second flu shot, in an attempt to develop more antibodies.

NOTE: This study used "unadjuvanted" vaccine (a vaccine that wasn't live, and didn't include an adjuvant -- "a substance that is added during production to increase the body's immune response to a vaccine" []).

The abstract for this study can be seen here: