In a Journal of Internal Medicine study of more than 3 million Danish and Swedish adult women, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination was not linked with 44 serious chronic diseases. The authors did report an increased risk of developing celiac disease--an autoimmune condition triggered by dietary gluten; however, the increased risk was only observed in Denmark. Because previous research has shown that celiac disease is markedly underdiagnosed in the general adult population in Denmark, the findings may be due to unmasking of pre-existing celiac disease. No other serious safety concerns were found.
Because HPV immunization programs target girls aged 9 to 12 years, the majority of post-licensure evidence of the safety of HPV vaccines comes from young adolescents; however, adult women are also getting HPV vaccinated through catch-up programs or by choice at their own expenses.
"This is the most comprehensive study of HPV vaccination safety in adult women to date. It is not unreasonable to expect different safety concerns in adult women compared with young girls, and our study is an important supplement to the safety studies in young girls," said lead author Dr. Anders Hviid, of the Statens Serum Institut, in Denmark.