question and answer
Can people on prednisone handle live vaccines?
November 2003
"A patient travelling to a typhoid/ hepatitis endemic area was receiving prednisone for chronic pemphigus vulgaris. Should vaccines (especially live ones) be avoided in this situation?" inquires C. RENZ, MD, of Ottawa, ON.
Live vaccines aren't usually given to immunocompromised people, but the decision requires weighing the type and extent of the immune defect against the severity of the "wild-type" disease and risk of acquiring it abroad. In general, many live vaccines may be administered safely to adults receiving less than 20 mg/day of prednisone, although individual assessment is required. I'd recommend referral to a specialist for any immunocompromised patient for whom you're considering live vaccine administration. KL
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