Flu shots and PMR

Asking the experts here... Its flu shot time again, and I'm worried about the risk of getting the shot.

I'm tapering pred, currently 7- 6.5.

I think I'm sensitive to the tiny step reduction of steroid, but have continued PMRpros schedule in spite of some withdrawal issues.

Now I worry about the risk of a flare if I get the shot. Any words of advice? thanks. Jerri

20 Replies

  • You have reminded me that it's that time again! I've had my flu shot for more than 20 years - long before PMR - without any noticeable side effects and I think it is even more important since I've been taking steroids. Itis not a live vaccine, so it's ok and important for us to have one. The thought of 'flu plus all my other ailments now makes my blood run cold (well, what they've left me!).

  • Agreed! Thanks

  • First of all - remember you aren't reducing relentlessly to zero, you are reducing to the lowest dose that controls your symptoms AT THE MOMENT. I feel strange (for want of a better word) for the first few single days I take the new lower dose. Not PMR-flare ill, but definitely not 100%. This settles after 3 or 4 times and then I start to feel better on the low dose days than the higher dose days. I assume this is the form the steroid withdrawal is taking as I have to drop at 1mg at a time - I can't cut my pills.

    I've had the flu jab the last 2 years without problems - didn't qualify in the UK despite everyone else in the family being at risk. Maybe stick where you are pred-wise until after the jab?

  • The Rheumatology department at my hospital has sent a notice to all patients regarding drugs. It says that if you are taking prednisolone it is very important that you havethe annual flu jab. I have always had it, with no problems.

  • Thank you for your reply.

  • Thanks. Will have it

  • Most people on here will tell you to get the shot. (Maybe not the nose spray.) The shot is a dead virus. However, I got my first flu shot in about 53 years and promptly developed GCA and PMR. I think that it triggered my antibodies to go crazy. I'll never know. Now it might give them something to do other than eating at the arteries. You definitely don't want the flu. Good luck.

  • Hi Asbeck. I got my PMR a few weeks after my first ever flu jab plus the anti-pneumonia jab. I had these because I was on methotrexate for Rheumatoid Arthritis, another auto immune disease. Do you still get the flu jab despite what you think? Angela

  • Hi Angela123! I haven't decided yet. I got the flu jab in March of 2013. So I've missed it by 6 months so far this year. My Rheumy seems to be worried about my immunity, and I'm older now and in a position to travel more (as on an air plane). I see her in October and will ask her this specific question. The flu on Prednisone (and the after effects of methotrexate) would not be good. I do know someone was diagnosed with having had a latent MS gene, got the flu jab and developed MS in his 20s. So it happens. I also know someone who got somewhat paralyzed after a flu jab and that this can be a rare side effect of the jab. Many people in our University of Miami Hospital and Medical Center wear a mask because they refuse to get the jab, and therefore the hospital requires it of them (so they won't have the beginnings of the flu and unknowingly infect the patients). I wonder what they know that we don't know. However in 2013 a neurologist friend told me to get the flu shot. So I did. The rest is history. If I get one I'll write you back with the results. I'm really not anxious to do it.

  • Many thanks for your reply. I expect I will probably get the jab again when the time comes as the damage is now done (and hope nothing else happens). I know flu can be nasty as I had it once but I was much younger then. Now my health is not great I feel I should have it. I have not mentioned to my doctor that the PMR came on after my 2 jabs as I'm sure he will say it was just a coincidence. I'm interested to know what you decide. All the best. Angela.

  • And thank YOU. I'll let you know. I might get it if I decide to go on a plane. Or I might wear a mask on the plan and scare everybody. I might have to go on a plane in mid October. Please write again after you get the jab. And tell your doctor about the correlation between the jabs and the disease. You might be surprised. I'm going to tell mine. I know that there are some live virus vaccinations which we should not get. All the best to you as well.

  • Thank you.

  • Thank you.

  • I always take the Ainsworth Homeopathic Anti Cold & Flu, it's formulated on each years expected flu strain much like the flu jab. Not expensive and you can buy on-line or by phone from Ainsworths, you have to take x3 over 24 hours nothing to eat or drink 15 mins either side of taking it. Do this every two weeks from Oct - Apr.

  • Thanks.

  • Not related to your post, but I love your purple crow logo. Is it embroidered?

  • I have had flu jabs for the last 2 years with no problems or difference in Pmr symptoms. Will be having another soon - certainly don't want flu!!!

  • nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinati...

    The NHS website categorically states that people with long-term conditions on steroid medication should have the flu jab, and in England and Wales they qualify for the flu jab free. If you are in any doubt about it, discuss it with the doctor.

  • I really don't know what to do for the best re the flu injection. I have always had it, however these past 2 years after the jab, my ESR went up, I had horendous headaches, [ I have GCA ] and had to increase my steroids, which set me back, I also got a bad chest infection, so antibiotics required. I am at the moment on 35mgs of Pred. due to another flare of GCA I just reached 9mgs. on a slow taper, and then it all came back [ GCA ]

    Perhaps as I'm on a high dose of Pred. that will guard me if I have the flu jab now? I really don't know what to do.

  • Hi Bowler, I have PMR, on 6.0 pred. I got the flu injection almost 2 weeks ago, and didn't even notice i got it.

    Relief, I didn't experience even a headache. Think the prednisone helped with any potential reaction??

    Good luck to you. Jerri

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