, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 1533-1539
Date: 15 Feb 2011

Vaccination survey in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a cross-sectional study

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The objective of this study is to evaluate the vaccination status in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients during routine clinical practice, data from a German non-interventional cross-sectional study. In this prospective study, patients with rheumatoid arthritis were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire focusing on vaccination. Available vaccination documents were evaluated, and titers for common vaccination antigens (hepatitis B, rubella, mumps, measles, diphtheria, tetanus) were analyzed with special regard to the underlying treatment and age of patients. A total of 301 RA patients treated with conventional DMARDs alone (cohort I, n = 125), TNF-blocking agents (cohort II, n = 117), or B-cell depletion with rituximab (cohort III, n = 59) have been studied. Significantly more patients in the biologic cohorts II and III were aware of an increased risk of infections (I: 67.7%, II: 83.8%*, III: 89.9%*, P < 0.05). Pneumococcal vaccination rate was significantly higher (I: 20.2%, II 36.8%* and III: 39.0%*, P < 0.05) compared with cohort I. Differences were less evident for influenza. Significantly more patients ≥60 years of age have been vaccinated against Streptococcus pneumoniae and influenza. An obvious discrepancy existed between vaccination awareness and actual vaccination rates for all cohorts. No significant differences in vaccination titers could be seen between the three cohorts. Awareness of infectious complications was more present in patients treated with biologicals, and also, the rate of patients vaccinated against Streptococcus pneumoniae increased significantly depending on the underlying treatment. Nevertheless, there was a discrepancy between vaccination awareness and actual vaccination rates for all cohorts.