Send to

Choose Destination
J Pharm Health Care Sci. 2017 Jul 11;3:18. doi: 10.1186/s40780-017-0087-6. eCollection 2017.

Safety of human papillomavirus vaccines in healthy young women: a meta-analysis of 24 controlled studies.

Author information

Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Musashino University, 1-1-20 Shinmachi Nishitokyo-shi, Tokyo, 202-8585 Japan.
Department of Pharmacotherapy, Meiji Pharmaceutical University, 2-522-1 Noshio, Kiyose-shi, Tokyo 204-8588 Japan.



Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have been shown to be effective for the eradication of HPV and prevention of cervical cancer. However, the number of women who receive HPV vaccinations has decreased over the last several years in Japan, due to concerns about adverse reactions associated with the vaccines. We evaluated the safety of three types of HPV vaccines separately in young women and the difference in the risk of adverse reactions between HPV and other vaccines by conducting a meta-analysis.


Primary literature was retrieved from MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Japana Centra Revuo Medicina. Prospective controlled studies with participants consisting exclusively of healthy women who received bivalent, quadrivalent, or 9-valent HPV (2vHPV, 4vHPV or 9vHPV) vaccines were included. Primary safety outcome was the incidence of solicited local and systemic symptoms, and unsolicited symptoms. When two or more studies were found for the same analysis, a meta-analysis was applied.


A total of 24 controlled studies from 22 articles were included in our study. Of the 24 studies, 16 were placebo-controlled and eight were active-controlled (different HPV vaccine or hepatitis vaccine). Average ages of the participants ranged from 12 to 37 years. A significantly higher incidence of solicited local symptoms was observed following injection of HPV vaccines (2vHPV and 4vHPV) compared to placebo, but there was no difference between HPV vaccines [risk ratio (RR) for 2vHPV: 1.25, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09 to 1.43, RR for 4vHPV: 1.16, 95% CI: 1.11 to 1.20]. The incidence of solicited systemic symptoms was not different between HPV vaccines and placebo (RR: 1.04, 95% CI: 0.99 to 1.09). The incidence of unsolicited symptoms was significantly higher for 2vHPV vaccine compared to placebo (RR: 1.28, 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.63), but was not significantly different between 2vHPV and hepatitis B vaccines.


HPV vaccines had significantly higher risk of any injection site symptom compared to placebo or other vaccines (hepatitis A and B vaccines), and the incidence of solicited local symptoms was no difference between 2vHPV vaccination and 4vHPV vaccination. However, the most adverse reactions were transient.


Cervical cancer; HPV vaccine; Meta-analysis; Safety; Solicited local symptoms; Solicited systemic symptoms

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center