The safety of human papilloma virus-blockers and the risk of triggering autoimmune diseases

Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2015;14(9):1387-94. doi: 10.1517/14740338.2015.1073710. Epub 2015 Jul 28.


Introduction: With the safety of human papilloma virus vaccine (HPVv) being questioned, this article aims to assess the risks and benefits of the commercially available HPVv. Within the last decade, two vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix) have been put on the market to prevent infection with the most oncogenic HPV subtypes. Both vaccines contain aluminum adjuvants that are meant to cause a hyper stimulated immune response to prevent HPV infection.

Areas covered: The purpose of this paper is to consider the safety of these two vaccines based on the data from the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and case reports.

Expert opinion: The current HPVv are both effective and generally safe. However, it should be noted that autoimmune side effects have been reported in several studies. Further research should be done to understand the relationship between HPVv and autoimmunity.

Keywords: adjuvant; aluminum; autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants; autoimmunity; guillain barré syndrome; human papilloma virus; postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome; premature ovarian failure; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / chemistry
  • Aluminum Compounds / chemistry
  • Aluminum Compounds / immunology
  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / epidemiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / adverse effects*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Aluminum Compounds
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines