AUTOIMMUNE HEPATITIS TRIGGERED BY A VACCINE

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What is Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the liver cells, causing inflammation and liver damage. If left untreated for too long, autoimmune hepatitis risks permanent liver scarring (a condition called cirrhosis), liver cancer, or even complete liver failure.

Many cases where patients developed autoimmune hepatitis after getting a vaccine have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

VAERS is a database that contains all reports of negative side-effects following US-approved vaccines. The database is managed by the FDA and CDC, and it is used to detect rare side effects to vaccines that were not caught during clinical trials.

Patients who developed autoimmune hepatitis after receiving a vaccine may be entitled to compensation from the federal government. 

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Symptoms of Autoimmune Hepatitis

If you or a loved one experience any of the symptoms listed below after getting a vaccine, you should consult your doctor immediately because the vaccine may have triggered the symptoms. Additionally, you should also contact a vaccine injury lawyer because you may be entitled to compensation. There are no legal costs for patients represented by Maglio, Christopher, and Toale, P.A.

  • Jaundice (Yellowing of the Skin and Whites of the Eyes)
  • Joint Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the Upper Abdomen (where the liver is located)
  • Sudden Rashes or Acne
  • Dark Colored Urine
  • Light Colored Stools
  • Unexplained Weight Loss

It is important to note that many patients do not experience any symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis until it has already caused permanent liver damage.  However, some patients with autoimmune hepatitis begin to experience symptoms relatively early on.

Which vaccines have been linked to autoimmune hepatitis?

For the vast majority of the population, vaccines are safe procedures; they protect communities from outbreaks of deadly diseases like tuberculosis, measles, and yellow fever.

Vaccines especially protect those who are most vulnerable among us: babies, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. However, in very rare cases, patients can suffer injuries like autoimmune hepatitis as a side-effect of an otherwise safe vaccine.

This is because vaccines work by stimulating our immune system in a safe way; but in extremely uncommon cases, the immune system appears to be over-stimulated, leading to autoimmune diseases.

Below is a list of all vaccines that have been linked to autoimmune hepatitis on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

Vaccine Type Cases Reported  
ANTHRAX VACCINE (ANTH) 1  
HEPATITIS A (HEPA) 5  
HEPATITIS B VACCINE (HEP) 6  
HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (TYPES 6, 11, 16, 18) RECOMBINANT VACCINE (HPV4) 5  
INFLUENZA (H1N1) MONOVALENT (INJECTED) (FLU(H1N1)) 2  
INFLUENZA VIRUS VACCINE, TRIVALENT (INJECTED) (FLU3(SEASONAL)) 1  
LYME VACCINE (LYMERIX) (LYME) 1  
MEASLES, MUMPS AND RUBELLA VIRUS VACCINE, LIVE (MMR) 1  
PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINE, POLYVALENT (PPV) 2  
PNEUMOCOCCAL, 7-VALENT VACCINE (PREVNAR) (PNC) 1  
VARIVAX-VARICELLA VIRUS LIVE (VARCEL) 1  
ZOSTER VACCINE LIVE (VARZOS) 1  
Total 27

What Does the Scientific Community Have to Say?

Today, there is an increasing amount of suspicion about vaccines that is not based on science.  Below, we summarize some of the credible, legitimate, scientific sources that have discussed the link between autoimmune hepatitis and certain vaccines.

Hepatitis A vaccine

  • It is well known that the regular hepatitis A virus can trigger autoimmune hepatitis in patients.
  • Several medical reports have found that, in rare cases, the hepatitis A vaccine can also be a triggering agent (Perumalswami et al, 2009).
  • Autoimmune hepatitis has emerged in as little as 10 days after receiving this vaccine (Berry and Smith-Laing, 2007).
  • This link appears to affect women more frequently than men.

Yellow fever vaccine:

  • A case study published in the US National Library of Medicine describes the case of a woman who developed severe autoimmune hepatitis symptoms 11 days after receiving the yellow fever vaccination.
  • Her symptoms included jaundice, dark urine, and nausea, among others; she appeared to be suffering from liver failure (Perumalswami et al, 2009)

Influenza (flu) vaccine:

  • Autoimmune hepatitis has been known to develop between 7 and 30 days after receiving the influenza vaccine (Sasaki et al, 2018).

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Diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis

Autoimmune Hepatitis can only be truly diagnosed by a health care professional.  They will perform a blood test and review your medical background, including the use of medications and alcohol that may harm the liver.  A liver biopsy may also be performed, which involves taking a small piece of liver tissue to examine it more closely.

Causes of Autoimmune Hepatitis

There are a number of triggers that lead to Autoimmune Hepatitis, including environmental triggers, genetic predisposition, and autoimmunity diseases.  While the disease is more common in women, anyone can develop the disease.  People with autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and hyperthyroidism are more prone to develop autoimmune hepatitis.  A history of certain infections like Epstein-Barr virus, measles, herpes or hepatitis A, B or C are also make patients more susceptible.  There is also evidence linking immunizations and autoimmune diseases, like Autoimmune Hepatitis.  Although doctors are not sure what causes autoimmune hepatitis, some medications – including vaccines – have been known to trigger this disease.

Many cases where patients developed autoimmune hepatitis after getting a vaccine have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is a database that contains all reports of negative side-effects following US-approved vaccines. The database is managed by the FDA and CDC, and it is used to detect rare side effects to vaccines that were not caught during clinical trials.

Patients who developed autoimmune hepatitis after receiving a vaccine may be entitled to compensation from the federal government.

Treatment of Autoimmune Hepatitis

Although autoimmune hepatitis has no cure, early treatment can push the disease into remission. Even for patients who go into remission, treatment of autoimmune hepatitis tends to be very costly and time-consuming because it typically requires lifelong follow-ups with your doctor.

If you have been diagnosed with this disease or have experienced any of its symptoms after getting a vaccine, it is crucial that you begin a treatment course as soon as possible to increase the odds of remission.

Because autoimmune hepatitis is caused by excessive activity in your immune system – which normally keeps you healthy by attacking bacteria and other invasive cells – it is commonly treated with drugs that suppress the immune system. This prevents your immune system from attacking your liver.

Corticosteroids like prednisone tend to be the go-to starting drug for autoimmune hepatitis. Unfortunately, they have severe side-effects that must be considered.

Patients who do not respond to immunosuppressants may need to get liver transplants.

What risk factors make you more likely to develop autoimmune hepatitis from a vaccine?

Anyone of any age and gender can develop autoimmune hepatitis from a vaccine. However, some factors make you more likely to get autoimmune hepatitis.

If you belong to any of the following groups of people, you are at a higher risk of developing autoimmune hepatitis from a vaccine:

  • Females
  • Children: children are more likely to develop a particular kind of autoimmune hepatitis known as Type 2 Autoimmune Hepatitis.
  • People with a family history of autoimmune disorders
  • People who already have an autoimmune disease, such as:
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Celiac disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • People with a history of hepatitis A, B, or C
What health complications does autoimmune hepatitis cause?

Already very debilitating and costly on its own, injuries caused by autoimmune hepatitis can become even more exhausting and expensive.

If you developed autoimmune hepatitis after getting a vaccine and suffered any of the conditions listed below as a result, you could contact a vaccine injury lawyer because you may be entitled to compensation. There are no legal costs for an injured patient represented by Maglio, Christopher, and Toale, P.A.

  • Complete liver failure
  • Liver cancer
  • Permanent scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)
  • Enlargement of the veins in the esophagus (esophageal varices)
  • Internal bleeding in the esophagus
  • Internal bleeding in the stomach
Vaccine table retrieved from:

United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Public Health Service (PHS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) / Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) 1990 – last month, CDC WONDER On-line Database. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/vaers.html on Dec 6, 2018 5:16:32 PM

Sources:

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0482-50042013000200008&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227414/ https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/autoimmune-hepatitis/treatment https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/Fulltext/2018/07270/Autoimmune_hepatitis_following_influenza_virus.55.aspx https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19676005 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5607155/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4146852/ https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autoimmune-hepatitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352153

Vaccine Injury Compensation Autoimmune Hepatitis Triggered by a Vaccine