Intended for healthcare professionals


HPV vaccines are effective and safe and work best in young women, review finds

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 09 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2059
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines are effective against pre-cancerous changes that could lead to cervical cancer, and they cause no serious side effects, a Cochrane review has found.1

The reassuring conclusions, based on 26 studies involving 73 428 women, confirmed what the vaccine trials had shown—that these vaccines are a powerful tool in reducing deaths from cervical cancer. They work best if given to young women who are free of HPV at the time of vaccination, almost eliminating cervical lesions, but they also approximately halve this risk in women aged 15-26 who are already infected with HPV.

Because insufficient time has passed no trials have yet shown an effect on cervical cancer deaths, but the well established course of the disease justifies the use …

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