Serum antibody response to influenza vaccine in pulmonary patients receiving corticosteroids

Chest. 1996 Aug;110(2):367-70. doi: 10.1378/chest.110.2.367.


Objective: Despite the recommendation that patients with chronic lung diseases--many of whom receive corticosteroids--receive annual influenza vaccination, it is not known whether corticosteroids influence antibody response to influenza vaccine in this population. The purpose of this study was to assess whether patients with pulmonary conditions receiving long-term corticosteroid therapy develop an adequate antibody response.

Design: We prospectively studied 39 consecutive candidates for influenza vaccination, 25 of whom were receiving corticosteroids for underlying lung diseases. Patients with immunosuppression besides corticosteroids were excluded. Serum samples were obtained prior to and 1 month after vaccination with inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine and assayed for antibodies to the three strains using a hemagglutination inhibition assay. No patients had any intercurrent illness compatible with influenza during the study period and patients receiving corticosteroids continued treatment with them during this time.

Results: A fourfold rise in antibody titer at 1 month to at least one component was seen in 21 of 25 (84%) of corticosteroid-treated patients, which was similar to patients not receiving corticosteroids (11/14, 79%). There was no corticosteroid-antibody, dose-response relationship.

Conclusions: Patients with pulmonary conditions receiving corticosteroids can generate an adequate antibody response to killed influenza virus vaccine. Long-term therapy with corticosteroids should not preclude influenza vaccination in patients with chronic pulmonary diseases who are deemed vaccine candidates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / pharmacology
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus / immunology
  • Influenza B virus / immunology
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Lung Diseases / drug therapy
  • Lung Diseases / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Influenza Vaccines