Navigation Links
Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs Don't Seem to Increase Risk of Shingles

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- The newest medications used to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis don't appear to raise the risk of developing shingles, new research indicates.

There has been concern that these medications, called anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drugs, might increase the chances of a shingles infection (also known as herpes zoster) because they work by suppressing a part of the immune system that causes the autoimmune attack.

"These are commonly used drugs for people with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, and the issue was whether or not they increased the risk of [shingles]. We found there is no increased risk when using these drugs, which was reassuring," said study author Dr. Kevin Winthrop, associate professor of infectious disease and public health and preventive medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

Results of the study are published in the March 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Shingles is a major concern for people with autoimmune conditions, particularly people who are older and more at risk for developing shingles in general. Shingles is caused when the same virus that causes chickenpox is reactivated.

The symptoms of shingles, however, are often far more serious than chickenpox. It typically starts with a burning or tingling pain, which is followed by the appearance of fluid-filled blisters, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Shingles pain can vary from mild to so severe that even the lightest touch causes intense pain.

People who have rheumatoid arthritis already have an increased risk of shingles, although Winthrop said it's not exactly clear why. It may be due to older age, or it may have something to do with the disease itself.

Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions are treated with many different medications that help dampen the immune system and, hopefully, the autoimmune attack. Corticosteroids such as prednisone often are the first line of treatment, but because these drugs have many side effects, the goal is to be on the lowest dose possible or off them altogether.

Two other classes of drugs -- the "biologic" anti-TNF drugs and a group of medications called non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) -- are newer medications that can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. Examples of biologics are adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel) and infliximab (Remicade). A commonly used DMARD is methotrexate.

Winthrop and his colleagues reviewed data from almost 60,000 people with various autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. More than 33,000 were taking biologic anti-TNF drugs, and almost 26,000 were on DMARDs. The study period ran from 1998 through 2008.

They found no significant increase in the risk of shingles based on the type of medicine people were taking, with the exception of a high dose of corticosteroids. People taking more than 10 milligrams a day of corticosteroid medication had twice the odds of developing shingles.

Dr. Patience White, vice president of public health for the Arthritis Foundation, said the study's findings were good news.

"People worry a lot about taking drugs, and this well-done study says this is another thing we don't have to worry about," said White, who also is a professor of medicine and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in Washington, D.C. "Drug therapies, other than corticosteroids, don't increase the risk of getting [shingles]."

Both White and Winthrop said people, if possible, should get the shingles vaccine before they start taking medication for an autoimmune condition. The shingles vaccine is a live vaccine, so it's not recommended for people who are on any type of immune-system-altering drug.

Winthrop said that based on the latest findings, he suspects it would be OK to vaccinate people on the newer medications, but he added that a study would need to be done first to confirm that.

More information

Learn more about anti-TNF medications from the American College of Rheumatology.

SOURCES: Kevin Winthrop, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor, infectious disease and public health and preventive medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Ore.; Patience White, M.D., vice president, public health, Arthritis Foundation, and professor, medicine and pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington D.C.; March 6, 2013, Journal of the American Medical Association

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Newer Antidepressants May Be Safe for Parkinsons Patients
2. Newer Second-Line Diabetes Drug May Outperform Older Meds
3. Law Firm Aggressively Litigating against Birth Control Makers for their Newer, but Allegedly Unsafer Products: Nuvaring, Yaz, BeYaz, Yasmin, Ocella, Gianvi
4. Newer technology to control blood sugar works better than conventional methods
5. Newer hip reconstruction technique provides good outcomes for athletes
6. Newer Bone Drug Better for Advanced Breast Cancer Patients: Study
7. Older Antipsychotics May Work as Well as Newer Ones: Review
8. Newer Psoriasis Drugs May Lower Heart Attack Risk for Patients
9. Newer Drug-Releasing Stent Cuts Chances of Cardiac Events: Study
10. Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs Dont Raise Cancer Risk: Study
11. African American women with breast cancer less likely to have newer, recommended surgical procedure
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs Don't Seem to Increase Risk of Shingles
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Keeping in mind challenges faced ... and wellness consultation, has collaborated with a leading web-based marketplace for extra-curricular activities ... by parents and bring advice from parenting experts within their reach. As a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... Avid collector, ... Ann Arbor Michigan boxing style concert posters. This is one of Joplin's most famous ... Canterbury House at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The According to Hawley, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Cambridge, ON (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 ... ... availability of a real-time eReferral system for diagnostic imaging in the Waterloo region. ... mammography, BMD and Nuclear Medicine tests directly from their electronic medical record (EMR) ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... PRMA Plastic Surgery is ... 2015, our surgeons performed their 6,000th free flap breast reconstruction surgery! , “What an ... every day excited to rebuild lives and it’s an honor to have served all ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of the world-class ... improve system efficiency and reliability. , The new Q-Suite 6 platform is based on ... avoids locking itself into a specific piece of software for many key components of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... ser potential att använda SyMRI för att ... för patienter med multipel skleros (MS) eller ... SyntheticMR AB för att kunna använda SyMRI ... Med SyMRI kan man generera flera konstrastbilder ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... adds "Global Repaglinide Industry ... Report on China Repaglinide Market, 2010-2019" ... data and information to its online ... . --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 ) ... "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type (Reagents & Kits, ... Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application (Research, Clinical Diagnostics), ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: