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Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2007 Oct;9(5):407-15.

Vaccine responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 695, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease that is associated with immunologic alterations in T cells and B cells. Moreover, many of the agents used in RA patients are potentially immunosuppressive. Thus, the underlying disease and treatment may both increase the susceptibility to infections and decrease vaccine responses. With the growing use of aggressive therapies for RA, including anti-tumor necrosis factor agents and newer biologic therapies such as rituximab and abatacept, an increasing concern will be that patients may not respond to conventional vaccination. Further prospective studies on response to vaccination are needed to answer this important public health question. Nevertheless, it is already clear that vaccination does induce response in many patients. Unfortunately, vaccination is underutilized in RA patients and needs to be aggressively promoted.

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