Study Supports Wider Use of Shingles Vaccine

Source: MedPage Today

By: Smith, Michael


A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that the shingles vaccine appears to be safe for older individuals with autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. The retrospective analysis of more than 463,000 Medicare beneficiaries found that the herpes zoster vaccine was not linked to a higher rate of herpes zoster disease in the weeks following immunization. In addition, the vaccine was associated with a 39 percent lower risk of herpes zoster disease after the 42 days immediately following vaccination in multivariable analysis. While the live-attenuated vaccine is considered contraindicated for older people with autoimmune conditions, the researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham note that “our data call into question” that recommendation, and they suggest that the shingles vaccine’s efficacy and safety be assessed in a randomized, controlled trial involving people being treated with medications for autoimmune diseases.

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