What should I know about vaccines and DMARDs?

I am a wildlife professional seeking information on the rabies vaccine series/booster and the interaction with DMARDs. Rabies vaccine is killed, so it is safe to have the injection, but my understanding is DMARDs can interfere with the immune response and the ability to produce antibodies. I take 12.5mg Methotrexate orally per week. I needed a rabies booster series for work due to a possible exposure, so I am stopping Methotrexate for two weeks. I could find very little guidance on this, or if it was even necessary. My doctor was not really able to help. There is a study on Flu vaccine that showed a two week break from DMARDs resulted in greater immunity. Thanks for your help.


Community Answers
  • Erin Rush moderator
    5 months ago

    That’s a great question, ksinclair! I am sorry you are having to have a precautionary rabies booster. You can check out this article on vaccinations (not specifically the rabies vaccine) and RA here — https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/ra-and-vaccinations-protecting-a-compromised-immune-system/. Also, the CDC does list potentially “safe” vaccines for the immunocompromised population. Here is a brief chart covering that — https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00025228.htm#00000393.htm. You are correct that most physicians recommend taking a break from DMARDs when taking certain medications or receiving vaccinations. It sounds like you have a good plan in place, but should you have further questions, I would definitely consult with another rheumatologist or even the CDC — 1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027 USA
    800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636), TTY: 888-232-6348
    Email CDC-INFO . I hope this information helps and that your booster shot goes smoothly and you experience NO side effects. Good luck! Best, Erin, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member.

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