Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


HIV patients should have flu jab despite warnings, pharmacy group urges

HIV pharmacy specialists have warned that some HIV patients could be mistakenly being told that they should not take antiretrovirals at the same time as receiving the seasonal flu vaccination.

The HIV Pharmacy Association (HIVPA) and British HIV Association (BHIVA) said they had received reports that some GP computer systems were giving a ‘high severity’ warning regarding influenza vaccinations.

The warning was reported to state: “Drug to drug interaction. Avoid antivirals for at least two weeks after immunisation; avoid immunisation for at least 48 hours after stopping the antiviral.”

But the HIVPA and BHIVA stressed that it was safe to give patients on antiretroviral therapy the influenza vaccine without compromising either the vaccine or the patient’s HIV treatment.

HIVPA said it believed warnings following the alert were down to confusion between antivirals and antiretrovirals.

An HIVPA spokesperson said: “We believe the interaction alert some GP systems are showing is with respect to neuraminidase inhibitors used to treat influenza infection and does not apply to antiretroviral agents used to treat [or prevent] HIV.

“We have reviewed the Summary of Product Characteristics for both Sanofi Quadrivalent and Fluvarix Tetra and confirm that there is no contraindication to treatment in patients taking antiretroviral agents.”

People living with HIV are advised to have a flu vaccine and not stop their antiretrovirals unless advised by the BHIVA. They are considered to be an at-risk group and are eligible for a free annual flu vaccination.

Sharon Jay, co-chair of the HIVPA, said there was a simple message for HIV patients considering being given a flu vaccination.

“Do not stop taking your antiretrovirals, and have a flu vaccine as advised in the Department of Health guidelines,” she said.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203717

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Flu vaccine

Jobs you might like

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.