Vaccine Risk to Myasthenia Gravis Patients May be Worth Taking
Source Newsroom: American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM)
Newswise — A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) is considered a good first step in collecting data on vaccine-preventable illnesses in patients with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder causing weakness and rapid fatigue of voluntary muscles.
“This research is important because there is very little existing data to guide physicians in recommending vaccination for patients with myasthenia gravis,” said Andrew Tarulli, MD, AANEM News Science Editorial Board member.
“Physicians, particularly primary care physicians, may undervaccinate their myasthenic patients because they may be concerned about the possibility of provoking an exacerbation. On the contrary, failure to vaccinate a patient may result in pneumonia or influenza, both of which are common precipitants of myasthenia exacerbations or even myasthenic crises,” said Dr. Tarulli.
The AANEM committee members reviewing the research agreed that it is a good first step in collecting data on vaccine-preventable illnesses and should be followed by studies documenting the safety of vaccination conducted in larger cohorts. The ultimate goal would be to produce a set of guidelines for neuromuscular physicians who treat myasthenics.
The study, entitled, Prevalence of Vaccine Preventable Infections in Myasthenia Gravis and its Exacerbations, was conducted by Crystal Dixon, MD, a neurology resident at the University of South Florida. Dr. Dixon received the Best Abstract Runner-Up award from the AANEM for her research.
Founded in 1953, the AANEM is a nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of neuromuscular and electrodiagnostic medicine. Nearly 5000 physician members—primarily neurologists and physiatrists—allied health professionals, and PhD researchers work together to improve the quality of medical care provided to patients with muscle and nerve disorders. AANEM programs are guided by its five pillars: education, professional standards, advocacy, communications, and research. Its administrative office is located in Rochester, MN.