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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vaccine effectiveness compromised by OTC drugs

Vaccine effectiveness appears to be diminished by some common over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
Cyclooxygenase or COX enzymes (notably COX-1 and COX-2) are part of a chain reaction resulting in inflammation. Inflammation is a normal bodily reaction to injury or invasion by parasites.
Certain OTC drugs, collectively called Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), have the affect of decreasing inflammation by blocking COX-1. These drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. Acetominophen, a different type of OTC analgesic, also inhibits the COX pathway.
Now it appears that using these drugs regularly can decrease the effectiveness of a variety of vaccines. Is this because inflammation is a necessary part of developing immunity?
Charles Brown of the University of Missouri’s studies indicate that this may be so. So far, the tests have only been conducted in animals. If the same result is found in humans, Brown suggests that people avoid COX-1 inhibitors for a few weeks before and after receiving a vaccine.