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Myasthenia Gravis

Chicken pox and hepatitis A&B vaccination

08/23/2007

Question:

Im currently 30 years old and would like to consider getting myself vaccine against Chicken Pox and Hepetitis A & B. Would like to seek your opinion if this is advisable for an MG patient. Thank you.

Answer:

These vaccines are advisable to prevent disease in people who are exposed to certain risk factors (bodily fluids, sexually active, etc). They are not mandatory for patients with myasthenia. Viral vaccines come in two types—attenuated live virus and inactivated (dead) virus. Patients who are on immunosuppression (prednisone, azathioprine, methotrexate, etc.) are recommended to not take a live attenuated vaccine due to the fact that your immune system is weakened. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A can both be given in an inactivated viral form, but the chicken pox (varicella) vaccine is still a live attenuated vaccine. Talk to your doctor and make sure that if you are going to get the vaccines, that you get inactivated forms. As far as the varicella vaccine, I am not sure that I can recommend this vaccine 100% yet. I have had patients with immunosuppression get this vaccine and have no problems, but it is still probably not advisable.

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Response by:

Robert W Neel, IV, MD Robert W Neel, IV, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati