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Safety of New Nasal Spray for Influenza Immunizations

The flu seems to be picking up steam this winter. Here's some advice from the doctor that diagnosed my MS.

"There is no safety data on this nasal spray for influenza immunizations. Since it is a live attenuated vaccine, it should not be used in people with MS who are on immunosuppressive medications (chronic steroids, mitoxantrone, cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, methotrexate). However, I would emphasize that unlike some of the other live vaccines (e.g. chickenpox) there is an alternative vaccine (the traditional flu vaccine) for which there is good safety data in MS. Using the live attenuated nasal spray means using a vaccine for which we have no safety data in MS, in place of one which we have safety data. It is worth emphasizing that 1) the effects of interferon-beta in response to live vaccines is unknown, and 2) inactivated vaccine may be less likely to provoke systemic response than the live vaccine. The safety of the traditional inactivated flu vaccine in MS has been well-studied. As a physician, I recommend that over the nasal vaccine. However, it is preferred that a patient take a nasal vaccine over not being vaccinated at all."

Read it here.

December 8, 2003 in treatment | Permalink