A to Z of MS
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A to Z of MS Hepatitis B vaccine
The research evidence of a link between hepatitis B vaccination and the onset of multiple sclerosis is inconclusive.
A study in 2004 suggested that people who had had a hepatitis B vaccination in the previous three years were more likely to develop MS than those who did not. The research identified 163 people with MS, 11 (6.7%) of whom had had the hepatitis B vaccination and 1,604 people who did not have MS, 39 (2.4%) of whom had been vaccinated. Although this indicates a possible role for the vaccination in the onset of multiple sclerosis, the vast majority of people who had developed MS had not had the hepatitis B vaccination.
In contrast, a study from 2003 looked at vaccinations for influenza (flu), hepatitis B, tetanus, measles and rubella (German measles) in 440 people with MS or optic neuritis and 950 people who did not have MS. The results of this study showed no association between any of the vaccinations and the development of multiple sclerosis.
A study looking at children who had had one episode of neurological symptoms prior to their receiving the hepatitis B vaccination found that it had no effect on whether or not they went on to develop MS.
For people who already have MS, research has failed to show that the hepatitis B vaccination causes a relapse.
Given the serious and at times fatal nature of hepatitis B, the recommendation is to have the vaccination if necessary.
DeStefano F, et al.
Vaccinations and risk of central nervous system demyelinating diseases in adults.
Archives of Neurology. 2003;60(4):504-509.
Hernan MA, et al.
Recombinant hepatitis B vaccine and the risk of multiple sclerosis: a prospective study.
Ozakbas S, et al.
Development of multiple sclerosis after vaccination against hepatitis B: a study based on human leucocyte antigen haplotypes.
Tissue Antigens 2006;68(3):235-238.
Mikaeloff Y, et al.
Hepatitis B vaccine and risk of relapse after a first childhood episode of CNS inflammatory demyelination.
Confavreux C, et al.
Vaccinations and the risk of relapse in multiple sclerosis. Vaccines in Multiple Sclerosis Study Group.
New England Journal of Medicine 2001;344(5):319-326.