Older asthma patients may need higher H1N1 vaccine dose

A new government study suggests older patients with severe asthma may need a higher dose of the H1N1 vaccine in order for it to work effectively.

The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, suggests that asthma patients are at serious risk for developing complications when contracting influenza, according to Asthma was the most common preexisting condition faced by hospitalized influenza patients.

There is also a danger that asthma patients might not be capable of having a strong immune response because they are possibly being treated with corticosteroids, an immune system suppressor.

"The results of this clinical trial show that the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine was safe and led to adequate production of antibodies thought to be protective against the virus," Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a press release.

The NIH revealed that asthma patients over the age of 60 will be in need of a 30 microgram dose of the vaccine. That is double the standard dose needed to stimulate an immune response in the majority of patients.

"We were not surprised that the older participants had less robust responses to the vaccine compared with the younger participants because immune system activity tends to decrease with age," William Busse, an asthma investigator in the NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said, according to

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National Institutes of Health

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