Swine flu vaccine link to narcolepsy probed
A swine flu vaccine given to millions of Britons is under review over a possible link to the sleeping disorder narcolepsy, it was announced today.
The European Medicines Agency is looking into Pandemrix, made by GlaxoSmithKline, after a number of cases were reported, mostly in Sweden and Finland.
Pandemrix was the main vaccine used in the UK at the height of last year's flu pandemic, and was given to millions of people in high-risk groups, including children and those with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma.
Overall, it has been given to at least 30.8 million Europeans.
Narcolepsy is a rare sleep disorder which causes a person to fall asleep suddenly and unexpectedly.
In a statement, the European Agency said: "Although the cases of narcolepsy have been reported in temporal association with the use of Pandemrix, it is at present not known if the vaccine caused the disorder.
"The Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) will look carefully at all of the available data to determine whether there is evidence for a causal association."
On Tuesday, Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare recommended that vaccination with Pandemrix be stopped until the suspected link with narcolepsy had been thoroughly evaluated.
In December, the European Medicines Agency expressed concerns that children having their second dose of Pandemrix may develop a high fever.
Parents and doctors were being urged to keep watch on a child's temperature after research found they were more likely to suffer a fever - above 38C (100F) - following the second dose compared with after the first.
Youngsters were also more likely to suffer soreness at the site of injection as well as drowsiness, irritability and loss of appetite after the second dose.
A spokesman for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it was "aware of the case reports of narcolepsy" and was "evaluating these in collaboration with other EU authorities".
"Narcolepsy is a rare, natural illness, with around 10 new cases per million people every year and at present no link with the vaccine has been established," he added.
"After use of more than six million doses of swine flu vaccine in the UK, no cases of narcolepsy have been reported following vaccination in the UK.
"Pandemrix vaccine remains available for use as recommended."
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Ukip's official health spokesperson: 'Honestly, I have no experience in health whatsoever'
Deliberately urinating before sex can increase risk of urinary tract infections
Doctors to trial 29-point checklist for elderly patients facing 'unavoidable' death
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...