Flu Vaccination for Psoriasis Patients

Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD


December 04, 2002


Are there any special considerations for psoriasis patients receiving vaccination for influenza?

Response from               Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD

There are some special considerations for psoriasis patients regarding flu vaccination. Flu vaccination is especially important for people whose immune systems are suppressed. So for psoriasis patients who are on methotrexate, cyclosporine, or other immune-suppressing drugs, a flu vaccination is a particularly good idea. Vaccination could make psoriasis worse in some patients, but this effect is not usually a strong one. Psoriasis patients also sometimes develop psoriasis lesions at sites of injury (Koebner phenomenon) and thus could develop a lesion at the site of a vaccination injection.

Flu vaccine uses killed virus. Thus it doesn't cause infection. Vaccines that involve "attenuated" live virus are risky in immunosuppressed patients. This is a problem with smallpox vaccination, and patients who are on immunosuppressive drugs should avoid such vaccination. Also, the family of immunosuppressed people should avoid the vaccination because of the potential for transmission of the virus to the immunosuppressed person. Finally, smallpox vaccination is not recommended for anyone with inflammatory skin disease for fear that the virus will spread over the irritated skin areas. This is not a problem with the flu vaccine because the flu vaccine does not contain live, infectious virus.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.