Shingles Vaccine Safe for RA Sufferers?
Until now, the shingles vaccine has not been recommended for older people with immune-mediated diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. However a retrospective analysis of more than 460,000 Medicare beneficiaries published in the Journal of the American Medical Association calls into question that stance.
According to Jeffrey Curtis, MD of the University of Alabama Birmingham and colleagues, the vaccine did not increase the rate of shingles as had been feared. The researchers wrote: "Receipt of HZ vaccine was not associated with a short-term increase in HZ incidence among Medicare beneficiaries with selected immune-mediated diseases, including those exposed to biologics. The vaccine was associated with a lower HZ incidence over a median of 2 years of follow-up."
If you are 60 or older and have an immune-mediated disease but have not yet been vaccinated for shingles, why not talk with your doctor about whether you are a candidate for the shot that could prevent you from getting the painful rash that results from the virus lurking in your system if you ever had chicken pox?