Objectives: In this study, we examined the antibody responses after recombinant hepatitis B vaccine in juvenile SLE patients and whether antibody levels were affected by immunosuppressive therapy.
Methods: This study consisted of 64 juvenile SLE patients and 24 healthy controls. We evaluated HBsAg, Anti-HBs and Anti-HbcIgG titers in SLE patients. 24 patients (37%) were non-immunised, 39 patients were immunised (61%) and 1 patient (1.5%) was chronic hepatitis B carrier. Of the 24 non-immunised patients, 3 had active disease (SLEDAI>10) and 1 was being treated for tuberculosis infection so they were not included in the vaccination program. Twenty non-immunised SLE patients were given 3 dose recombinant hepatitis B vaccine doses at 0,1,6 months. AntiHBs antibody titer >10 IU/ml one month after the last dose of vaccine was accepted as seroconversion.
Results: After 3 doses of vaccination, 16 (80%) of SLE patients and all of the healthy controls had seroconversion. Since two patients had SLEDAI score >10 after the first 2 doses of vaccine and one patient had SLEDAI score >10 after the first dose, these patients were given only two doses of hepatitis B vaccine. These patients had already seroconverted. One patient had exacerbation of the disease one month after the third dose of the vaccine. Protective antibody responses were statistically insignificant between the two groups (p=0.49). Geometric mean antibody titers of SLE patients were lower than those of the healthy controls. Adequate antibody response was not affected by immunosuppressive treatment as prednisone, azathioprine, and hydroxychloroquine.
Conclusions: Juvenile SLE patients could reach an adequate antibody response after recombinant hepatitis B vaccination and this response is not affected by immunosuppressive treatment.