Myasthenia Gravis and Influenza Vaccine

With the upcoming flu season fast approaching, MGA wanted to make you aware of information found on the internet regarding Myasthenia Gravis and the Influenza vaccine.  NOTE: The content of this article is being provided for informational purposes only.  Please consult with your own doctor regarding the Influenza vaccine.

Safety of influenza vaccination in patients with myasthenia gravis: A population‐based study

Lorne Zinman, MD., MSc  Jessica Thoma BSc  Jeffrey C. Kwong, MD., MSc  Alex Kopp BA, ThÉRÈSe A. Stukel, PhD.,  David N. Juurlink MD, PhD

First published: 09 November 2009 Cited by: 14

Influenza vaccination has been associated with adverse events including Guillain–Barré syndrome. Because the safety of influenza vaccination in patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) has not been established, some clinicians discourage vaccination for these patients. We explored whether the administration of influenza vaccine to patients with MG might increase the risk of myasthenic crisis. Using population‐based healthcare data from Ontario, Canada, from 1992 to 2007, we utilized the self‐matched, case‐series method of detecting adverse events following vaccination. We studied patients with established myasthenia who were hospitalized for MG within 42 weeks of influenza vaccination. We defined the primary risk interval as the 6 weeks following vaccination. Between January 1, 1992 and March 31, 2006, we identified 3667 hospital admissions for MG. No seasonal trend in MG admissions was evident. In 513 instances, hospitalization occurred within 42 weeks following vaccination in patients previously diagnosed with MG. Among these patients, 266 (52%) were men, the median age was 74 years, and 86 (17%) had previously undergone thymectomy. The estimated relative incidence of admission for MG in the primary risk interval compared with the control interval was 0.84 (95% confidence interval 0.65–1.09). We found similar results in stratified analyses according to gender, age, and thymectomy status. Vaccination of patients with MG against influenza was not found to be associated with exacerbations of the disease. Our findings do not support the practice of withholding influenza vaccination in patients with MG. Muscle Nerve, 2009.

CDC Recommends Flu Shot

Posted January 3, 2015 at

With colder weather comes flu season.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

The CDC notes that some groups should especially get the flu vaccine because they are at higher risk for severe complications if they get the flu.  This includes those who have chronic neurological disorders and those who are taking immune suppressant medications. The CDC recommends that these groups avoid the nasal spray vaccine because it is made with a live virus.