FDA: Adults under 45 now eligible for HPV vaccine

Woman receiving the HPV vaccine

Woman receiving the HPV vaccine

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the expanded use of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for adults up to 45 years old.

An earlier version of the vaccine first came to market in 2006 - marketed as Gardasil and covering four types of HPV - for HPV prevention in girls and women ages 9 years to 26.

Rohr-Allegrini said even if you've already tested positive for a strain of HPV, the vaccine can protect you against other cancer-causing strains to which you may not yet have been exposed. A new study suggests that individuals with type 1 diabetes who maintain good blood sugar control may reduce their long-term risk of developing dementia, Reuters reported.

For women ages 27 to 45, the vaccine was studied in roughly 3,200 women who were followed for 3.5 years on average.

Women 30-65 years old can get pap smears every 3 years, or a pap smear plus HPV testing every 5 years. The virus has several strains, it can be sexually transmitted, and the majority of the adults encounter a minimum of one strain in their lives at some point.

All told, the vaccine prevents over 90 percent of possible HPV-caused cancers, said Gypsyamber D'Souza, an epidemiologist at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.

According to Merck (MSD), the manufacturer of Gardasil 9, the "vaccine is indicated in the United States in females 9 through [45] years of age for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; precancerous or dysplastic lesions caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; and genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11". Indeed, that's why the FDA approval and vaccine recommendations focused on younger, potentially less sexually active people in the past. But data also indicate that the vaccine can benefit the older group.

"This is great", Dr. Lois M. Ramondetta, a professor of gynecologic oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said in an interview. "Its a prevention vaccine". The best time to get it is before you turn 13 and have any intimate activity at all.

US regulators Friday expanded the use of Merck's cervical cancer vaccine to adults up to age 45.

She added that many women with the diagnosis have hysterectomies. "But, that said, it protects against nine types of HPV, so if you have one of the types, you still can be protected from other HPV types". In his previous work with female sex workers, he found that the HPV vaccine still provided protection to high-risk groups. Two doses are needed for those vaccinated before 15, while three are recommended for older people. The vaccine is believed to help prevent them. The "9" is for the 9 types of viruses which are covered in this vaccine.