Personal Blog

What are the Long-term Effects of HPV Vaccine?

Posted by K Krasnow Waterman on Fri, Mar 02, 2007 @ 12:03 PM
I am astounded by the speed at which discussion about the HPV Vaccine is truning to mandatory vaccination.  I want to remind as many people as possible about DES (Di-Ethyl-Stilbestrol), a drug that was used for decades before its side effects were known.  Only when the daughters of the drug-takers themselves matured, did the full range of problems become apparent. 

I've only done a litte reading on this new HPV Vaccine, but so far have seen no references to multi-decade or multi-generational study and very little reference to studies in young girls (the targets of proposed legislation).  I found published references only dating back to the mid-90's (see the end of this CDC webpage).  And, although, this is not my professional area of expertise I do know drug manufacturers generally have three phases of testing.  For Merck (manufacturer of Gardasil),  I found references to three studies -- an article (see first paragraph) that describes a study on less than 300 women in Brazil over a three year period; another article describing a study on over 5,000 women for approximately 17 months; and one reference to a study that included girls aged 10-15 - there may have been only 158 girls in the study - that lasted six months.  For GlaxoKlineSmith (manufacturer of Cervarix), I found a report of a one year study that does not indicate that young girls were included;

I'm not saying that this vaccine won't turn out to be wonderful.  I'm asking whether we've studied this drug long enough to be so confident about long-term effects that we are willing to mandate the taking of the drug by our entire population of young women? 

If you know more about the drug, the length of drug studies, etc., please post a comment here.

Topics: Gardasil, hpv vaccine, technology - medicine, public policy