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Flu season threat greater for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis who are taking immunosuppressive drugs
Date:10/21/2013

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) Medical Board recommends that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis only receive inactivated flu vaccines while on drugs that suppress the immune system. People should talk with their doctors about vaccinations before starting immunosuppressive treatments, such as biologic or systemic drugs, the medical board suggests. Read the flu recommendations at www.psoriasis.org/flu.

The NPF Medical Board recommends that people with psoriasis—a chronic autoimmune disease that appears on the skin, affecting as many as 7.5 million Americans—and psoriatic arthritis—an inflammatory joint disease affecting up to 30 percent of psoriasis patients—on biologic (Enbrel, Humira, Remicade, Simponi or Stelara,) or systemic (cyclosporine or methotrexate) treatments take the following precautions:

  • Get vaccinated early. Biologic and systemic drugs suppress psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, but also interfere with parts of the immune system that fight off infection, making people more susceptible to the flu virus.
  • Receive only inactivated vaccines. Seasonal flu vaccines come in inactivated (given as a shot) and active forms (given as nasal spray). People taking medications that suppress the immune system should only receive inactivated flu vaccines. 
  • Take more daily health precautions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding close contact with people who are sick, washing hands frequently and avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth.

"People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis should take extra precaution this flu season if they are taking immunosuppressive drugs. For most people, the flu is an annoying aspect of winter. But for people with compromised immune sy
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SOURCE National Psoriasis Foundation
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