ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
CANCER
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
CAREGIVING
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
EYE CARE, VISION
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Less Education May Mean Poorer Health
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Add your Article

HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate

MONDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of serious allergic reactions to the cervical cancer vaccine is considerably higher than that for other vaccines given to children, but the total number of these reactions remains miniscule, Australian researchers report

Overall, the Gardasil shot is remarkably safe, declared a team of doctors in an editorial accompanying the study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. They did acknowledge the need to keep tabs on possible side effects, however.

"Parents can be reassured that these reactions were very rare and are not a reason to not vaccinate their daughter against HPV (the virus that causes cervical cancer)," said study lead author Dr. Julia Brotherton, a public health physician at the National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance in Australia.

Gardasil, which was approved for use in the United States in 2006, protects against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted infection that causes most cases of cervical cancer, as well as other conditions such as genital warts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that 11- and 12-year-old girls be targeted for this vaccine, as most girls of this age are not yet sexually active, have not yet been exposed to HPV, and will therefore achieve maximum protection.

The recommendation was not without controversy, with some parents objecting to the shot because they felt it might encourage sexual activity, or because they feared potential complications or side effects.

This study focused on anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reactions to the shot.

In 2007, Australia launched a government-funded vaccination program aimed at females aged 12 to 26. The study authors found a total of seven cases of allergic reactions out of almost 270,000 doses, a rate of 2.6 cases per 100,000 doses. (Patients are supposed to receive three doses of the vaccine in order to be protected.)

The allergic reactions included nausea, itchy red rash, difficulty breathing and other symptoms.

"These reactions were all potentially serious, meaning that if they were untreated, it is possible they could have progressed to become potentially life-threatening. However, all were rapidly recognized and treated with no serious effects resulting," Brotherton said.

Allergic reactions to vaccines aren't unusual, although they tend to be rare. It's not clear why the HPV vaccine might cause allergic reactions, Brotherton said.

The study authors did find that the rate of allergic reactions to the HPV vaccine was higher than the rates for other vaccines given at schools, including those for hepatitis B, diphtheria, measles, mumps and the flu. In some cases, the rate of allergic reactions to HPV was 5 times to 20 times as high as the rates for the other vaccines.

The results of the study need to be confirmed by other research, Brotherton said. It's possible that the researchers in the new study may have detected more cases of allergic reactions because they used a different definition of them, she said. It's also possible that the young women who got the vaccine may be more susceptible to problems than other groups of people who get vaccines, she said.

While the risk of allergic reactions shouldn't discourage use of the vaccine, health workers should be prepared to "rapidly detect and treat adverse events, including fainting, anxiety and immediate hypersensitivity reactions," wrote Dr. Neal A. Halsey of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in a commentary accompanying the Australian study in the Canadian journal's Sept. 9 issue.

Some adolescents faint after getting the vaccine, he wrote, so health workers should monitor them for at least 15 minutes after vaccination and keep them sitting down if possible.

-Randy Dotinga

More information

Learn more about HPV from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Julia Brotherton, M.D., public health physician, National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia. Sept. 9, 2008, Canadian Medical Association Journal

Last Updated: Sept. 02, 2008

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