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What Drugs Interact With the Flu Shot?

1 Side Effect Doctors Don't Want You to Fret Over, If You're Still Putting Off That Flu Shot

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Despite the fact that it's easier than ever to get your flu shot (many stores and standalone pharmacies even offer the vaccine for free), there are lots of reasons you might be putting it off, from stressful holiday planning to vaccine-specific questions you simply haven't had the time to ask. Here's one you can check off your list: the flu shot is unlikely to interact with other injections or any of the prescription or over-the-counter medications you're taking.

"Currently there are no confirmed medications that interact with the annual flu vaccine," Carolyn Kaloostian, MD, MPH, a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, told POPSUGAR. "There were some case reports over the last 30 years of increased medication levels of some anti-seizure and blood thinning medications. However, follow-up studies have not confirmed a consistent relationship, and these are likely a result of other factors."

Phil Johnson, MD, professor of general internal medicine at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, added that immunosuppressant or steroid drugs and certain vaccines, such as the PCV13 vaccine for pneumonia prevention (which is commonly given to adults over age 65), could make the flu vaccine less effective and cause a mild reaction it.

"However, this isn't a situation where we would necessarily warn a patient," Dr. Johnson said. "Getting other vaccines at the same time can cause bleeding at the injection site, but your doctor generally would not use this as a reason to warn against getting a flu shot."

Why? It's simple, really: the flu shot is just so important. "The annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect your loved ones and yourselves, as millions of people get the flu each year, and tens of thousands die from flu-related causes," Dr. Kaloostian said. The benefits far outweigh the risks and side effects, which are typically very mild.

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