Objectives: In this study we analyzed the clinical and demographic manifestations among patients diagnosed with immune/autoimmune-mediated diseases post-hepatitis B vaccination. We aimed to find common denominators for all patients, regardless of different diagnosed diseases, as well as the correlation to the criteria of Autoimmune (Auto-inflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants (ASIA).
Patients and methods: We have retrospectively analyzed the medical records of 114 patients, from different centers in the USA, diagnosed with immune-mediated diseases following immunization with hepatitis-B vaccine (HBVv). All patients in this cohort sought legal consultation. Of these, 93/114 patients diagnosed with disease before applying for legal consultation were included in the study. All medical records were evaluated for demographics, medical history, number of vaccine doses, peri-immunization adverse events and clinical manifestations of diseases. In addition, available blood tests, imaging results, treatments and outcomes were recorded. Signs and symptoms of the different immune-mediated diseases were grouped according to the organ or system involved. ASIA criteria were applied to all patients.
Results: The mean age of 93 patients was 26.5 ± 15 years; 69.2% were female and 21% were considered autoimmune susceptible. The mean latency period from the last dose of HBVv and onset of symptoms was 43.2 days. Of note, 47% of patients continued with the immunization program despite experiencing adverse events. Manifestations that were commonly reported included neuro-psychiatric (70%), fatigue (42%) mucocutaneous (30%), musculoskeletal (59%) and gastrointestinal (50%) complaints. Elevated titers of autoantibodies were documented in 80% of sera tested. In this cohort 80/93 patients (86%), comprising 57/59 (96%) adults and 23/34 (68%) children, fulfilled the required criteria for ASIA.
Conclusions: Common clinical characteristics were observed among 93 patients diagnosed with immune-mediated conditions post-HBVv, suggesting a common denominator in these diseases. In addition, risk factors such as history of autoimmune diseases and the appearance of adverse event(s) during immunization may serve to predict the risk of post-immunization diseases. The ASIA criteria were found to be very useful among adults with post-vaccination events. The application of the ASIA criteria to pediatric populations requires further study.