Objectives: To present the systematic literature review (SLR), which formed the basis for the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) evidence-based recommendations for vaccination in adult patients with auto-immune inflammatory rheumatic diseases (AIIRD).
Methods: AIIRD, vaccines and immunomodulating drugs, as well as eight key questions were defined by the multidisciplinary expert committee commissioned by EULAR for developing the recommendations. A SLR was performed using MedLine through October 2009 and including data from meta-analyses, systematic reviews, randomized trials, and observational studies, excluding case series with ≤ 5 participants. Articles in English and regarding patients ≥ 16 years of age, were eligible.
Results: Several vaccine-preventable infections (VPI) occur more often in AIIRD-patients and most vaccines are efficacious in AIIRD-patients, even when treated with immunomodulating agents, except rituximab. There does not appear to be an increase in vaccination-related harms in vaccinated patients with AIIRD in comparison with unvaccinated patients with AIIRD. However, these studies are underpowered and therefore not conclusive.
Conclusion: Based on the current evidence from the literature, recommendations for vaccination in patients with AIIRD were made. However, more research is needed in particular regarding incidence of VPI, harms of vaccination and the influence of (new and established) immunomodulating agents on vaccination efficacy.
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