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Shingles with lupus
carylea posted:
I had my first outbreak of shingles at age 12, long before my diagnosis of lupus. I'm sure that among many other signs should have raised a few eyebrows with my doctors! I have since had shingles 12 times, with PHN on my scapular area that has been continuous since 1989. My rheumatologist has told me that Zostovax will not help me completely, only POSSIBLY lessen the severity of the outbreaks.
lisatru62 responded:
I've had shingles and they are horrible, I feel for you. My doctor told me that shingles usually occur in older people hence the vacine wasn't for me. I have no idea if the Zostovax will help. It sounds like you have it bad.

I hope things get better or at least the doctors can find a solution to lessen the symptoms.

Good luck and stay strong.

R Swamy Venuturupalli, MD, FACR replied to lisatru62's response:
Hi there,

Zostavax may be helpful, but is somewhat controversial. Some of the issues that are relevant to the zostavax and lupus are: 1. This is a live vaccine. 2. A low grade viral infection has been reported following the vaccine. 3. It is not clear, though there is significant concern, if using a live vaccine in patients who have active autoimmune disease might trigger a worsening of the autoimmune syndrome. This matter is currently under investigation and we may have some answers in the coming year. 4. Patients who are on immunosuppressive therapy may have a severe viral infection from the virus in the vaccine.

An option that I offer my patients with active lupus, who have recurrent attacks of shingles is to go on anti zoster suppressive therapy with acyclovir or valacyclovir.