Juvenile Arthritis not Aggravated by MMR Vaccination
Posted Jan 17 2011 5:49pm
There have been concerns about the association of viral infections and vaccinations with acute arthritis. This has led to the proposition that a virus, such as rubella, may cause chronic arthritis. In 1992 a report published in the British Medical Journal stated that MMR vaccination was associated with acute arthritis. And until recently there has been no evidence that the MMR vaccination was safe for patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
To gain insight into this issue Dutch researchers have conducted a multicenter retrospective study into the relationship between MMR vaccinations and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) activity.
The report, published earlier this year in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, was based on a study of 207 JIA patients that were born between 1989 and 1996 who received an MMR booster vaccination between ages 8 and 10. These included patients who were currently taking methotrexate.
The researcher’s measurements of the disease activity included the number of joints with active arthritis and number of joints with limited movement. Measurements were taken during the 6 months before and 6 months after receiving the vaccination. These data were compared to patients of the same age range who had not yet been vaccinated.
The analysis of these measurements showed that there was no worsening of the JIA disease activity measures or flares. A flare was defined as a worsening of at least 40% in at least 2 of the measures without improvement of at least 30% in at least 2 other measures. There was also no observed change in the number of patients or the dosage for those using steroids or methotrexate.
Compared to the non-vaccinated group, those that were vaccinated did not demonstrate a higher risk for increase in the number of affected joints or joints with limited movement. This included those patients who were taking methotrexate.
The researchers concluded that the MMR booster did not seem to aggravate the juvenile idiopathic arthritis disease activity and that a majority of JIA patients can be safely vaccinated. Since this was purely a statistical analysis of retrospective data it was also recommended that a prospective study be conducted.