ATLANTA—Rheumatologists are often asked about the safety and efficacy of various immunizations in adults with rheumatic diseases, but many have questions about which vaccines are safe to use in this population. Clifton Bingham III, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, addressed these concerns during a presentation titled “Immunizations and Rheumatic Diseases: An Update” at the 2010 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting here in November.
Explore this issueDecember 2010
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Dr. Bingham remarked that many rheumatologists may hesitate to vaccinate patients with inflammatory and autoimmune disease for fear of triggering flares of disease or because of possible contraindications with the medications patients take. However, there are some vaccinations that are appropriate for this group.
“We know that patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis [RA] and lupus have an increased risk of usual infections as well as atypical infections. We also understand that corticosteroids and immunomodulators may increase this risk and that outcomes can be more severe in this population. Immunizations can help decrease these risks,” said Dr. Bingham in the session, “Immunizations and Rheumatic Diseases: An Update.” [Editor’s note: This session was recorded and is available via ACR SessionSelect at www.rheumatology.org.]
Dr. Bingham said that studies in patients with autoimmune disease have shown a significant “underutilization and underappreciation” of immunizations.