Thursday, February 5, 2015

Behcet's and the measles vaccine

There's no published, direct connection between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and Behcet's flares/complications, but you should still be careful. Cover all the bases with your doctor before getting the shot, since the MMR vaccine is a weakened (but still live) virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "Some adults should get the MMR vaccine: Generally, anyone 18 years of age or older who was born after 1956 should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, unless they can show that they have either been vaccinated or had all three diseases" [measles, mumps, rubella]. 

Not sure if you've had measles, mumps or rubella? Ask your doctor for an MMR antibody titer test first, to check antibody levels in your blood. It's a simple blood draw.

Who should wait or not have the vaccine at all?  

The CDC has a list on their website, and some of the items may apply to you. The medications you're taking now are especially important ( Please read the whole list for more info.

Here are a couple of articles published in Dec 2014 on vaccinations (including MMR) in people with autoimmune/rheumatic inflammatory diseases. Please share them with your doctor(s):

(1) This first article is free and available in full online
(do an in-article search for "MMR" to find the info you need)
Effects of biological and non-biological immunomodulatory therapies
on the immunogenicity of vaccines in patients with rheumatic diseases.

McMahan ZH, Bingham CO 3rd.
Arthritis Res Ther. 2014 Dec 23;16(6):506.
doi: 10.1186/s13075-014-0506-0.  PMID:25587634

(2) This next article only provides an abstract (summary). Your doctor can get a full-text copy, or if you live near a medical library, you can get a copy on your own.
Vaccination of patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases.

Westra J, Rondaan C, van Assen S, Bijl M.
Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2014 Dec 9.
doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2014.206. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PMID:25486980

See the full Table of Contents for my new Behcet's book, published in Dec. 2014: