The researchers assessed the risk of developing multiple sclerosis after hepatitis B vaccination and have reported their findings in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.
This longitudinal study of more than 238,000 female US nurses used data from as early as 1976.
For each woman with multiple sclerosis (n=192), five healthy women and one woman with breast cancer were selected as controls (n=645).
Information about hepatitis B vaccination was obtained through questionnaires and vaccination certificates.
The team used conditional logistic regression to analyze the data.
Patients who had the hepatitis B vaccination had a multiple sclerosis multivariate relative risk of 0.9.
|More than 238,000 women were included in the longitudinal study.
|N Engl J Med |
The results were similar in analyses restricted to women with multiple sclerosis that began after the introduction of the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine. There was also no association between the number of doses of vaccine received and the risk of multiple sclerosis.
Dr Alberto Ascherio, of the Harvard School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, concluded, "These results indicate no association between hepatitis B vaccination and the development of multiple sclerosis."
In an accompanying editorial, Bruce G. Gellin writes, "The results of this study should provide reassurance to recipients of the vaccine, to patients with multiple sclerosis, and to their physicians."