PsoriasisNet Article
Should I get a flu shot if I have psoriasis?

If you have psoriasis, you may be feeling especially anxious about this year’s flu season. The news that people with a chronic medical condition should be among the first to receive flu shots may have left you wondering if these shots are safe for people with psoriasis. The following information should help relieve your anxiety.

People who have psoriasis can get flu shots
While people who have psoriasis should not get the vaccine for smallpox, they can get the 2009 - 2010:

  • Seasonal flu shot

  • H1N1 (a.k.a swine flu) shot

Notice that these are both shots. You may have heard that this year’s flu vaccines also are available as a nasal spray.

If you are taking a medication that targets your immune system, you should not receive either vaccine as a nasal spray. The nasal sprays contain a live virus. Getting a live vaccine while taking a medication that suppresses the immune system can cause serious complications.

Not sure, talk with your dermatologist first
If you are not sure whether the medication you are taking to treat your psoriasis targets your immune system, you should talk with your dermatologist or rheumatologist first.

If you are taking a medication that targets your immune system, talking with your dermatologist or rheumatologist also can help you determine the best time for you to receive the flu shots.

Precautions help prevent side effects
Taking these precautions before getting a flu vaccine can help reduce side effects:

  • Do not get vaccinated if you have an infection.

  • When taking medication that targets your immune system, always ask if a vaccine contains a dead or live virus. You should not get a “live” vaccine if you are taking a medication that targets the immune system. A vaccine that contains a dead virus also may be called an “attenuated” vaccine.

Rest assured, most people living with psoriasis get immunizations and injections without experiencing any side effects or worsening of their psoriasis. If you do experience any side effects after getting a flu shot, be sure to report this to your dermatologist. This information can help your dermatologist plan future treatments.

References:
Lebwohl M, Bagel J, Gelfand JM et al. “From the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation: monitoring and vaccinations in patients treated with biologics for psoriasis.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology January 2008; 58: 94-105.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

 

 

Flu-shot Precaution

If you are taking a medication for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis that targets the immune system, it is especially important that you talk with your dermatologist or rheumatologist before getting any vaccination. Medications that target the immune system include:

  • Azathioprine

  • Cyclosporine

  • Methotrexate

  • Mycophenolate mofetil

Biologics

  • Adalimumab

  • Alefacept

  • Etanercept

  • Golimumab

  • Infliximab

  • Ustekinumab

 
 

 

 

 

     © American Academy of Dermatology, 2011  All rights reserved.
 

Page last updated 11/12/09

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