Polymyalgia Rheumatica After Influenza Vaccine

Mashal Salehi, Pavan Luckoor, Ed Marie Sibal-Gomez


Influenza is an acute upper respiratory tract infection that occurs in epidemics almost every year, and is caused by influenza A and B viruses. It can cause serious complications including death especially in older adults and individuals with underlying health problems. Influenza vaccination is a very effective way of preventing influenza and is recommended by CDC. The common side effects of the vaccine vary from mild injection site reactions, to rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, headache and sore throat. On the other hand, there have been very rare reports of Guillain-Barres syndrome and also some cases of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) after influenza vaccine. Our patient, an 86-year-old female, presented with bilateral shoulder and hip pain, and stiffness 2 weeks after she received her influenza vaccine, and both the patient and family were very adamant and upset that the problem was caused by the vaccination. Patients erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein were elevated, a clinical diagnosis of PMR was made, and she was started on steroids to which she had a dramatic response. While we strongly recommend the administration of influenza vaccination, we also want to create awareness among the clinicians of this possibility, and proper education of the patients regarding this existence and the fact that if it happens at all, there is a treatment for it, and it should not discourage the patients from getting the vaccine in future. Also this association would need more studies in future.

J Med Cases. 2017;8(4):117-118
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc2788w


Polymyalgia rheumatica; Influenza vaccine; Inflammatory disease

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