HPV Vaccine Doesn't Cause Multiple Sclerosis

While some researchers have associated human papillomavirus vaccination with an increased risk for multiple sclerosis, a new study found no such link between the vaccine and the development of demyelinating disease.

While some researchers have associated human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination with an increased risk for multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study published in the January 6, 2015, edition of JAMA found no such link between the vaccine and the development of demyelinating disease.

Nikolai Madrid Scheller, MB, of the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a follow-up study from 2006 to 2013 on Swedish and Danish girls and women aged 10 to 44 years. Nationwide registers were utilized to identify the study group, and more than 3 million girls and women were eligible for inclusion in the study.

Among the 789,082 subjects who received a total of nearly 2 million doses of the quadrivalent HPV (qHPV) vaccine during the study period, the researchers identified 4332 cases of MS and 3300 instances of other demyelinating diseases. Only 73 of those MS cases and 90 of those demyelinating disease instances occurred within 2 years of qHPV vaccination, the authors found.

Based on the data, the researchers ruled out a link between the neurologic ailments and qHPV vaccination.

"Our study adds to the body of data that support a favorable overall safety profile of the qHPV vaccine and expands on this knowledge by providing comprehensive analyses of multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases,” the study authors wrote. “…These findings do not support concerns about a causal relationship between qHPV vaccination and demyelinating diseases.”