Immunogenicity of hepatitis B vaccine in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and the benefits of revaccination

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Jan;30(1):92-8. doi: 10.1111/jgh.12712.


Background and aim: The vaccination against hepatitis B virus (HBV) is recommended in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the response to this vaccine seems to be lower in IBD patients than in the general population. This study aims to evaluate the immunogenicity of the HBV vaccine in a cohort of patients with IBD, to associate factors with the response and to analyze the effects of a second schedule vaccination.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adults with IBD, susceptible to HBV infection. All patients received a three-dose standard schedule of HBV vaccine. Non-responders were revaccinated with a second three-dose standard schedule. Adequate immunity to HBV was defined as antibodies against hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) ≥ 10 mIU/mL. Age, comorbidities, treatment, and other variables were collected.

Results: One hundred seventy-two patients were included and received the first HBV vaccine schedule. Eighty-seven developed anti-HBs ≥ 10 mIU/mL (50.6%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 42.9-58.3). From the non-responders, 53 were revaccinated and 28 showed an adequate serological response (52.8%; 95% CI: 38.6-66.7). Age older than 55 years (OR: 3.6; 95% CI: 1.3-10.2) and comorbidities (OR: 2.8; 95% CI: 1.1-7.1) were associated with suboptimal response. In the multivariate analysis, only age was a predictor of non-response (age higher than 55 years; OR: 3.9; 95% CI: 1.3-11.9) CONCLUSION: The response rate to the HBV vaccine is lower in patients with IBD compared with the general population, especially in those older than 55 years. Revaccination improved response rate by 50%.

Keywords: hepatitis B vaccine; immunogenicity; inflammatory bowel disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Secondary*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines