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Pain killers can dilute flu vaccine: Research

With flu vaccination season in full swing, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center cautioned that use of many common pain killers -- Advil, Tylenol, aspirin -- at the time of injection may blunt the effect of the shot and have a negative effect on the immune system.

world Updated: Nov 05, 2009 15:55 IST

Use of common pain relievers just after getting the flu vaccine can dilute the effect of the shot, scientists claimed.

With flu vaccination season in full swing, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center cautioned that use of many common pain killers -- Advil, Tylenol, aspirin -- at the time of injection may blunt the effect of the shot and have a negative effect on the immune system.

Richard P Phipps, who recently presented his latest findings to an international conference on inflammatory diseases, said "What we've been saying all along, and continue to stress, is that it's probably not a good idea to take common, over-the-counter pain relievers for minor discomfort associated with vaccination,"

He said, "We have studied this question using virus particles, live virus, and different kinds of pain relievers, in human blood samples and in mice -- and all of our research shows that pain relievers interfere with the effect of the vaccine."

An earlier study by researchers from the Czech Republic reported similar findings. They found that giving acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, to infants weakens the immune response to vaccines.

Phipps found that a variety of pain relievers -- even though Tylenol and Advil have different ingredients -- seemed to dilute the production of necessary antibodies to protect against illness, the University of Rochester Medical Center said.