Shingles Vaccine May Benefit Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBD Patients

Patients with autoimmune conditions have an increased risk of developing shingles due to immune-suppressing treatment regimens.

Patients with autoimmune conditions have an increased risk of developing shingles due to immune-suppressing treatment regimens.

Patients with autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus, may benefit from shingles vaccinations, new research suggests.

Researchers from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and Oregon Health and Science University compared infection incidence rates for patients with any of 7 diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and gout. The age-adjusted incidence rates for shingles ranged from a high of 14.6 per 1000 person years in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus to a low of 5.0 for patients with gout.

Patients with those conditions have an increased risk of developing shingles due to immune-suppressing treatment regimens. The shingles vaccine is recommended in adults aged 60 or older, but no evidence supports whether shingles infection risk in younger patients warrants vaccination.

Age-specific shingles infection rates for rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus patients who were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, were either non-inferior or significantly greater than corresponding rates for healthy controls who were in their 60s or older.

The study population included 50,646 rheumatoid arthritis patients, 2629 psoriatic arthritis patients, 4299 psoriasis patients, 1019 ankylosing spondylitis patients, 7916 inflammatory bowel disease patients, 8395 systemic lupus erythematosus patients, 5893 gout patients, 214631 diabetes patients, and 330727 health patients.

Researchers presented the results during the American College of Rheumatology’s Annual Meeting in Boston.

The results indicated that rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and inflammatory bowel disease are associated with a higher incidence of herpes zoster infection compared with healthy individuals, which led to the conclusion that people age 30 or over with those conditions may benefit from herpes zoster vaccination.