Combined MMRV vaccine shows slight rise in adverse events

The combined measles–mumps–rubella–varicella (MMRV) vaccine shows a slightly increased risk of febrile seizures in children, compared with the previously separate vaccines for MMR and varicella (chickenpox) (MMR+V), according to an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

The MMRV vaccine was developed for to reduce the number of needles they receive. However, the combined vaccine has been associated with slightly higher rates of .

Febrile seizures can accompany high fever in young ; although distressing, they are not associated with ongoing health issues.

"Combining MMR and varicella into a single vaccine decreases pain for children and distress for parents, thus addressing common barriers to vaccine uptake, and may improve vaccination coverage levels and decrease immunization delivery costs," writes Dr. Shannon MacDonald, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary.

"Febrile seizures are typically self-limiting and rarely have long-term effects, but they can be extremely distressing for parents, may precipitate acute care visits and may undermine confidence in immunization programs."

To determine whether there is an increased risk of febrile seizures from the combined vaccine, researchers looked at data on 227 774 children aged 12 to 23 months who received either the MMR+V or the MMRV vaccine between 2006 and 2012 in Alberta, Canada.

The researchers found a slight increase in the relative risk of febrile seizure with the MMRV vaccine compared with the MMR+V vaccine—about 1 excess seizure for every 2841 doses administered in the 7- to 10-day period after vaccination. Although this rate is double that for the MMR+V vaccine, the absolute risk is relatively small. The researchers suggest counselling parents about the risk of fever and to use children's fever medication to alleviate symptoms.

Two versions of MMRV are used in North America. Canada uses the Priorix-Tetra formulation, as does Australia, Italy and Germany; the United States uses ProQuad. Priorix-Tetra is also approved for use in many member states of the European Union.

This study's findings are consistent with the results of a study of the US version of the vaccine.

"It is a matter for debate whether the choice of separate versus combination is a policy decision or a choice for parents to make in consultation with their vaccination provider," the authors conclude.

More information: Paper: www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.140078

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

FDA OKs Cubist antibiotic for serious infections

Dec 20, 2014

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new medicine to fight complex infections in the abdomen and urinary tract, the fourth antibiotic the agency has approved since May.

Xtoro approved for swimmer's ear

Dec 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—Xtoro (finafloxacin otic suspension) eardrops have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat swimmer's ear, clinically known as acute otitis externa.

Drug interaction identified for ondansetron, tramadol

Dec 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—In the early postoperative period, ondansetron is associated with increased requirements for tramadol consumption, according to a review and meta-analysis published online Dec. 10 in Anaesthesia.

New system targets germs in donated blood plasma

Dec 17, 2014

(HealthDay)—A new system designed to eliminate germs in donated blood plasma and reduce the risk of transmitting a plasma-borne infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.