Swine Flu Jab Narcolepsy Concerns

Friday 27th August 2010

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently investigating whether Pandemix, Glaxo Smith Kline's swine flu jab, is linked to the sleep condition narcolepsy amid concerns that the inoculation may caused the on-set of the sleep problem in a small number of patients in Finland and Sweden.

Narcolepsy, a rare sleep condition that renders sufferers unable to control their body's sleep-wake cycle, is thought to affect just 5 in every 10,000 people in Europe. Scientists are undecided as to what causes the sleep condition which can result in temporary sleep paralysis, hallucinations and trance-like behavior. However, experts explain that the sleep disorder could be caused by a genetic mutation or due to low levels of a brain chemical, hypocretin, which regulates rapid eye movement.

Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare has announced that it will no longer use the vaccination until the EMA meets in September to discuss and evaluate the results of its pending investigation into this issue. The EMA estimates that Pandemix has been administered to over 30 million people in Europe, since the drug's introduction in September 2009.

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