July 3, Shingles Vaccine Safe for Those With Autoimmune Diseases: Study Study allays fears that the shot might raise shingles risk in people with psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis Steven Reinberg TUESDAY, July 3, HealthDay News -- For those suffering from the chronic skin disorder psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases, a new study finds the shingles vaccine appears to be both safe and effective.
It had been thought the vaccine might boost the risk of developing shingles in these patients, the researchers explained. The study looked at patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis an inflammation of the spineor inflammatory bowel disease.
Shingles Vaccine Safe for Those With Autoimmune Diseases: Study
The risk is that patients with these conditions are taking drugs that work by suppressing the immune system, which can leave them at risk for infections. He cautions that the vaccine does have some risks and there is no long-term data on its effectiveness in these patients.
WOCBP must agree to use effective contraception, defined as oral contraceptives with one barrier method, or tubal ligation with one barrier method or double barrier method condom plus spermicide or diaphragm plus spermicide during the study and for at least 6 months after the last dose of investigational product. Egg donation is not permitted while on study medication and for at least 6 months after the last dose of study medication.
The vaccine seems to be safe and these kinds of patients is psoriasis an autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases able to handle the vaccine and get a benefit from it. Food and Drug Administration and other organizations say the vaccine should not be used in patients taking immunosuppressive drugs including all biologic agents and some nonbiologics.
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The concern is that these patients may develop shingles from the vaccine virus strain, the researchers explained. This increase has been attributed to both the underlying disease process and treatments for these conditions," the authors added in the report published July 4 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For the study, a team led by Jie Zhang, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, collected data on more thanMedicare patients who had one of several rheumatic or immune-mediated diseases.
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Specifically, they looked at the cases of shingles that developed in the months after being vaccinated with the shingles vaccine. Among the over 18, patients who received the shingles vaccine, there were no cases of shingles in the 42 days after vaccination, including among the over who were taking so-called anti-tumor necrosis factor biologics to treat their other conditions, the researchers found.
There was only one case of shingles seen among all the patients during that time, they noted. More than 42 days after being vaccinated, patients did develop shingles, which is in the range of the effectiveness of the vaccine, the researchers reported.
All in all, after two years of follow-up, the investigators concluded that the vaccine reduces the risk of shingles in these patients. That conclusion was also based on accounting for the type of immune disease, treatment, the use of arthritis drugs and steroids.
Our data call into question the current recommendations that [shingles] vaccine is contraindicated in patients receiving biologics and suggest a need for a randomized controlled trial to specifically address the safety and effectiveness of [shingles] vaccination among patients receiving biologics," Zhang's group concluded.
Another expert, Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that "the shingles vaccine is a little controversial, but as a dermatologist who sees shingles, I can tell you that it can be a very painful, scarring process that goes beyond the skin and lasts beyond the rash. Shingles tends to be more severe and painful in older patients, she noted.
More information For more information on shingles vaccine, visit the U. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.