Closer look at autism and the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). Nov-Dec 2010;50(6):736-41. doi: 10.1331/JAPhA.2010.10004.


Objective: To educate pharmacists regarding the hypothesis that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is linked to the development of autism.

Data sources: Articles published from 1998 to 2009 were identified through electronic searches of Medline.

Study selection: Articles were included if they evaluated or reviewed a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism or discussed MMR epidemiology, legal proceedings involving the MMR vaccine and autism, or health professionals' impact on immunization decisions.

Data synthesis: A total of 27 articles were identified. Of the articles, 74% (20 of 27) were included in the review because of their relevance to the study topic.

Conclusion: The evidence presented does not show a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. Myths presented to potentially support any relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism have not been proven. Expert testimony refuting initial scientific theories has led to Supreme Court decisions that do not support a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Pharmacists and all health care providers are responsible for informing and educating parents and families regarding this information so that they can make informed decisions about immunizations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / etiology*
  • Health Education / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunization / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Incidence
  • Measles / epidemiology
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Thimerosal / adverse effects


  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine
  • Thimerosal