Pandemrix is an influenza vaccination, created in 2009 to combat H1N1, known as Swine Flu. Now, a team of clinicians testing the vaccine for links to immune-related or neurological diseases have linked Pandemrix to an increased risk of narcolepsy in young adults.
Children and the elderly are strongly advised by health officials to get the anti-swine flu vaccine due to their susceptibility for developing flu-related complications. Typically, H1N1 vaccinations such as Pandemrix are designed to do more good than harm by providing protection against certain strains of the virus. However, a recent study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, has found Pandemrix increases the risk of neurological and immune-related diseases like narcolepsy in children and adolescents.
Using a population-based prospective cohort study, the team analyzed data from regional vaccination registries and national health registries, covering seven healthcare regions and 61% of the Swedish population.
While the team did not identify any link to a large number of immune-related or neurological diseases, they did confirm an increased risk in diagnosis of narcolepsy in individuals younger than 20 years of age, and observed a trend towards an increased risk amongst young adults between 21 and 30.
“The follow-up of Pandemrix vaccinations in a large registry based study in Sweden confirms an increased risk of narcolepsy in children and adolescents, while also providing reassuring results for a large number of other neurological and immune related diseases,” said Dr. I. Persson from the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.