Patients Protected by Shingles Vaccine After Chemotherapy

Pharmacy Times, January 2015 The Aging Population, Volume 81, Issue 1

The shingles vaccine continues to protect patients against the disease after they have undergone chemotherapy, the results of a recent study indicate.

The study, published online on August 4, 2014, in Clinical Infectious Diseases, examined the medical records of more than 21,000 patients who were at least 60 years of age and were treated with chemotherapy between January 2007 and December 2012. The research team found that patients who had been vaccinated for shingles were 42% less likely to develop shingles following chemotherapy. The researchers also discovered that while 6 unvaccinated patients were hospitalized due to shingles-related causes, there were no incidents of vaccinated patients being hospitalized due to the disease.

“The zoster vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in elderly adults with healthy immune systems, but until now, there has been a lack of data on whether the vaccine remains safe and effective for individuals who might have compromised immune systems resulting from treatments like chemotherapy,” said study lead author Hung Fu Tseng, PhD, MPH, in a press release. “Our study demonstrates that older patients who had previously been vaccinated against shingles have a lower chance of developing this painful and often debilitating disease after chemotherapy.”