Increasing frequency of hepatitis B vaccination schedule could be more effective

A recent study shows that increasing the dose or frequency of the standard hepatitis B vaccination schedule may be more effective at producing virological response in HIV patients.  

The study, which was published in the April 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, was conducted on 437 adult patients with HIV-1 who were free of hepatitis B and had CD4 cell counts of more than 200 cells/microliter, reports.

According to the report, the patients were randomly selected to receive either three intramuscular shots of the standard dose, four double-dose intramuscular shots or four low-dose intradermal shots.

Both the high-dose, four-shot regimen given intramuscularly and a lower dose given four times intradermally showed superior serological response compared with the standard three-dose schedule, Odile Launay said, according to

By week 28 of the study, 82 percent and 77 percent of participants responded to the high and low-dose schedule, respectively. The patients receiving the standard dosage responded at a rate of 65 percent.

Researchers also noted that those on the high-dose regimen achieved a higher than standard seroconversion rate as soon as 12 weeks, according to

Some mild side effects were recorded as patients who received high-doses experienced a higher rate of fever, nausea or edema, and those in the low-dose group had a higher rate of local adverse reactions, the report states.  

The limited study did not evaluate protection against hepatitis B infection or assess long-term protection.