Background/aims: The effect of immunosuppressants on the efficacy of a variety of vaccines is a controversial issue in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In this study we determined whether specific immunosuppressants impair the serological response to the standard 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) in a large cohort of patients with Crohn's disease (CD). Methods: This was a multi-center, prospective observational study of adult patients with CD at 15 academic teaching hospitals in Korea. The study population received one intramuscular injection of PPSV23. Anti-pneumococcal IgG antibody titers were measured by immunoassay prior to and 4. weeks after vaccination. All vaccination-related adverse events and the effect of the vaccine on disease activity were also evaluated. Results: The overall serological response rate was 67.5% (133/197). The serological response rate was significantly lower in patients on anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy (50.0% on anti-TNF alone 58.0% on anti-TNF combined with an immunomodulator, IM) than patients on 5-aminosalicylate (78.4%; all P-values vs. 5-aminosalicylate. <. 0.05); 45.6% (41/90) of patients on anti-TNF therapy were not protected against PPSV23. IM did not affect the immunologic response to the vaccine. Female gender and anti-TNF therapy were significant predictors of non-response to the vaccine (odds ratio [OR] 2.316, P= 0.015; OR 2.582, P= 0.048, respectively). Vaccination was generally safe and tolerated by all patients. Conclusions: Patients with CD on anti-TNF therapy are at significant risk of an inadequate response to PPSV23. The pneumococcal vaccination strategy should be optimized for patients with CD on anti-TNF therapy.
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