AUSTIN, TEX. – (CIDP), according to a survey presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. They are more conservative in recommending immunization for patients with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome, however. Temporally associated disease relapses may be a risk factor for relapse with subsequent immunization, according to the investigators.
Influenza vaccination of patients with autoimmune neuromuscular disorders such as myasthenia gravis, CIDP, or Guillain-Barré syndrome is controversial, and no clear guideline helps clinicians to decide whether vaccination for such patients is appropriate. Tess Litchman, a medical student at Yale University, New Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted a web-based survey of neurologists throughout the United States to examine current practices for recommending influenza vaccination for patients with myasthenia gravis, CIDP, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The researchers received 184 survey responses, with the highest proportions of responses coming from California (8.8%), Connecticut (8.8%), and Texas (8.3%). On average, respondents had been in practice for 15.5 years. Their reported practice specialties were neuromuscular medicine in 50%, general neurology in 20%, mixed specialties in 20%, and other in 10%.
Across practice settings, neurologists followed 6,448 patients with myasthenia gravis, 2,310 patients with CIDP, and 1,907 patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Approximately 83% of respondents reported recommending influenza vaccination for all of their patients with myasthenia gravis, 59% reported recommending vaccination for all of their patients with CIDP, and 43% of respondents reported recommending vaccination for all of their patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome. About 2%, 8%, and 15% of respondents reported that they do not recommend influenza vaccination for any of their patients with myasthenia gravis, CIDP, and Guillain-Barré syndrome, respectively.
A temporal association between disease relapse and influenza vaccination was reported in 1.5% of patients with myasthenia gravis, 3.7% of patients with CIDP, and 8.7% of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Recurrent relapses occurred in 87% (26 of 30) of patients with myasthenia gravis, 92% (23 of 25) of patients with CIDP, and 74% (26 of 35) of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome who received another influenza vaccination.
“According to existing guidelines per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, all patients with myasthenia gravis and CIDP should be vaccinated, and patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome who did not develop the syndrome due to a flu shot should be vaccinated,” said, director of the program in clinical and translational neuromuscular research at Yale and one of the senior investigators on the study. “This survey demonstrates that clearer guidelines and education from a professional academic neurology society is an unmet need and would be helpful to better inform the neurology community about the possible risks and benefits of immunization in myasthenia gravis, CIDP, and Guillain-Barré syndrome patients. We hope to utilize these initial results to stimulate a larger scale study, and identify whether this topic represents a knowledge gap in the community or an area in which we can improve on the best-practice standard.”
Dr. Nowak had no relevant disclosures. The study was supported by the department of neurology at Yale University; there was no external funding.
SOURCE: Litchman T et al. AANEM 2019, Abstract 16.