Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine Side Effects

Please note - some side effects for Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

Side Effects by Body System - for Healthcare Professionals

Applies to: subcutaneous powder for injection

Local

Local side effects have included injection site burning/stinging, wheal and flare, erythema, swelling, induration, tenderness, and vesiculation.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included encephalitis, encephalopathy, measles inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE), subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), febrile convulsions, afebrile convulsions or seizures, ataxia, polyneuritis, polyneuropathy, ocular palsies, and paresthesia.

Significant central nervous system reactions such as encephalitis and encephalopathy have been very rarely temporally associated with measles vaccine (occurring within 30 days after vaccination); however, causality has not been determined in any case. A certain number of encephalitis cases unrelated to vaccines is expected to occur in a large childhood population; however, there is the possibility that some of these cases may have been caused by measles vaccine. The risk of measles vaccine-associated serious neurological disorders is much smaller than the risk for encephalitis and encephalopathy due to natural measles.

Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) has been very rarely reported in children after measles vaccination. Some of these cases may have been due to unrecognized measles during the first year of life or possibly due to the measles vaccination. The results of a retrospective case-controlled study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that measles vaccine has had the overall effect of protecting against SSPE by preventing measles with its greater risk of SSPE.

Measles/mumps/rubella vaccine has been associated with aseptic meningitis. Although a causal relationship between the Urabe strain of mumps vaccine and aseptic meningitis has been shown, there are no data that associate the currently used Jeryl Lynn vaccine strain to aseptic meningitis.

Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity reactions have included anaphylaxis, anaphylactoid reactions, angioneurotic edema (including peripheral or facial edema), and bronchial spasm.

Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular side effects have included vasculitis.

Dermatologic

Dermatologic side effects have included Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, erythema multiforme, urticaria, and rash.

Endocrine

Endocrine side effects have included diabetes mellitus.

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects have included pancreatitis; diarrhea, vomiting, parotitis, and nausea.

Genitourinary

Genitourinary side effects have included orchitis.

Hematologic

Hematologic side effects have included thrombocytopenia, purpura, regional lymphadenopathy, and leukocytosis.

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal side effects have included arthralgia and/or arthritis (usually transient and rarely chronic), polyneuritis, myalgia, paresthesia, and rarely chronic arthritis; these symptoms may also occur with natural rubella.

The vaccine has rarely been associated with chronic joint symptoms. The incidence of arthritis and arthralgia is generally higher in adult women than in children (women, 12% to 26%; children, 0% to 3%), and symptoms tend to be more marked and of longer duration, persisting for months or years (rare). In adolescent girls, the incidence of reactions appears to be intermediate between those seen in children and in women. These reactions are generally well tolerated and rarely interfere with normal activities, even in women over 35 years old.

Ocular

Ocular side effects have included retinitis, optic neuritis, papillitis, retrobulbar neuritis, and conjunctivitis.

Other

Otic side effects have included nerve deafness and otitis media.

Respiratory

Respiratory side effects have included pneumonitis, sore throat, cough, and rhinitis.

Other

Other side effects have included panniculitis, atypical measles, fever, syncope, headache, dizziness, malaise, and irritability. Fatalities have been reported; however, causality has not been determined.

Health care providers should report any allergic or unusual adverse reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at 1-800-822-7967 (USA) and the manufacturer.

A postmarketing surveillance study in Finland during 1982 to 1993 with 1.5 million pediatric and adult vaccinees reported no deaths or permanent sequelae.

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