Flu Vaccination Exacerbates Asthma


"Randomized Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial on Effect of

Inactivated Influenza Vaccine on Pulmonary Function in Asthma"


Lancet (01/31/98) Vol. 351, No. 9099, P. 326; Nicholson, Karl G.;

Nguyen-Van-Tam, Jonathan S.; Ahmed, Ala'eldin H.; et al.


British researchers report that there is a correlation

between pulmonary-function abnormalities and complications due to

flu vaccination, although the risk is quite small and the benefits

of vaccination outweigh the complications that may occur. The team

studied 262 adults in a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover

study of 262 adults to evaluate the safety of flu vaccination in

asthma patients. Despite current guidelines, asthma patients often

do not receive annual flu shots, in part, due to concerns that the

vaccine will trigger exacerbations. For two weeks before the first

injection until two weeks after the second injection, the subjects

kept a record of daily peak expiratory flow (PEF), respiratory

symptoms, medication, medical consultations, and hospital

admissions. Of the 255 patients with paired data, 11 saw a

reduction in PEF greater than 20 percent, while eight had a decline

in PEF of more 30 percent. Only three of the placebo receiving

subjects had PEF reduction greater than 20 percent, and none had a

reduction greater than 30 percent. When the researchers excluded

subjects with colds--which can trigger exacerbations and may be

mistaken for vaccine-related adverse events--there was no

significant difference in PEF decline, although they said the

difference for PEF declines of more than 30 percent approached