Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Not Linked to Autoimmune Disease

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Receiving an HPV vaccine lowered the risk of developing autoimmune disease by more than 40%.
Receiving an HPV vaccine lowered the risk of developing autoimmune disease by more than 40%.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines do not increase the risk of developing autoimmune diseases (ADs), according to a study published in Journal of Autoimmunity.

HPV vaccines are effective in protecting against the HPV types that cause genital warts and cervical cancer. However, autoimmune side effects have been reported with HPV vaccines, although a link between HPV vaccines and autoimmunity has not been clearly established. Concerns regarding HPV vaccine safety remain an important barrier to HPV vaccination.

Researchers evaluated the risk of ADs over 6.5 years after exposure to HPV vaccines in adolescent and young adult women using data from the Pharmacoepidemiologic General Research eXtension (PGRx) registry. The PGRx is a surveillance registry that monitors the occurrence of rare or delayed health events related to the use of medications or vaccines.

A total of 478 cases with AD and 1869 matched controls with no AD were included for analysis. The majority of individuals had received the HPV-6/11/16/18 vaccine (95.3%). Over half the study population had been exposed to at least one other vaccine in the prior 24 months.

The HPV vaccine exposure rate was lower in the patients with AD than in the controls without AD (10.9% vs 22.5%).

Receiving an HPV vaccine lowered the risk of developing AD by more than 40% (adjusted odds ratio, 0.58). Similar findings were observed for the risk of central demyelination/multiple sclerosis (CD/MS) and autoimmune thyroiditis (AT). A nonsignificant trend for reduced risk of connective tissue disease (CTD) and type 1 diabetes (T1D) was also found.

No correlation was found between HPV vaccine exposure and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). The relationship between HPV vaccine exposure and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) could not be established since no cases of GBS occurred in individuals who received an HPV vaccine.

The associations observed in this study were similar for the HPV-6/11/16/18 and HPV-16/18 vaccines.

“In conclusion, the ongoing surveillance of HPV vaccination using the PGRx information system showed no increased risk of ADs among young females. Continued vigilance and active surveillance are needed to confirm these findings for individual ADs,” the researchers wrote.

Reference

Grimaldi-Bensouda L, Rossignol M, Koné-Paut I, et al; PGRx-AD Study Group. Risk of autoimmune diseases and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines: Six years of case-referent surveillance [published online February 9, 2017]. J Autoimmun. doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2017.01.005

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