Are Vaccines Associated With Multiple Sclerosis Relapse?

vaccine, syringe
vaccine, syringe
Researchers found there are no associations between vaccinations and multiple sclerosis relapse flares.

LOS ANGELES — Multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses are not linked to vaccinations, according to a study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2018 Annual Meeting, held April 21 to 27, 2018, here in Los Angeles, California.

Moamina Fakhera Eddin and colleagues used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System from 1987 to 2017 to investigate the correlation between MS relapse and vaccination.

Definite cases of MS relapse were defined by clinical symptoms and magnetic resonance imaging findings, whereas probable cases were defined by suggestive clinical presentation without diagnostics. The study included 37 cases of MS relapse (6 men and 31 women).

Findings show that 40.5% of cases reported MS relapse within 8 weeks, whereas 59.5% reported MS relapse after more than 8 weeks. Onset of MS relapse was reported 64.8% of cases in 2 weeks, 0% of cases in 2 to 4 weeks, 11% in 4 to 6 weeks and 11% in 6 to 8 weeks. Permanent disability was reported among 16.2% of cases after vaccination. Hepatitis B vaccination was reported in 21.6% of MS relapse cases; HPV4 vaccine was reported in 13.5% of cases.

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The investigators conclude that there is no significant difference between MS relapse and non-MS relapse events within 48 hours postvaccination (51.3% vs 61.9%, P =.1843). However, there is a significant difference between MS relapse cases and Guillain-Barré syndrome cases reported within 48 hours of vaccination (51.3% vs 13.26%; P <.0001).


Eddin MF, Patel J, Alchaki AR, et al. Development of multiple sclerosis relapse flare after vaccination, a CDC/FDA vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS) study [1987-2017]. Presented at: American Academy of Neurology 2018 Annual Meeting; Los Angeles, CA; April 21-27, 2018. Abstract 383.

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor