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Herpes zoster vaccine may be used in RA patients receiving cDMARD, low-dose GC

13 Apr 2018
A need for greater awareness: Vaccination may be common among children, but Singaporean adults fail to see the need for it.

A recent study has shown that the herpes zoster (HZ) vaccine induces varicella zoster virus (VZV)-specific cellular and humoral responses in patients with rheumatic arthritis (RA).

Additionally, the vaccine-induced VZV-specific cellular immune response is weaker in patients with RA than in those with osteoarthritis (OA), but the vaccine may still be considered in RA patients receiving conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (cDMARD) and/or low-dose glucocorticoids (GC).

None of the patients developed vaccination-induced HZ during follow-up (median, 1.6 years). The VZV-specific enzyme-linked immunospot spot-forming units and anti-VZV immunoglobulin G antibodies significantly increased in patients with RA and OA who received the HZ vaccine. Patients with RA had lower spot-forming units than those with OA both at baseline and at 12 weeks after vaccination.

The disease activity index for patients with RA was similar at baseline and at 12 weeks post-HZ vaccination. However, flare developed in six patients with RA during the 12 weeks. A total of 17 (24.6 percent) participants reported a mild adverse event, such as an injection site reaction (11.6 percent).

This observational study of a live attenuated HZ vaccine included 41 patients with RA receiving cDMARD and/or low-dose GC and 28 patients with OA. Blood samples were taken before and at 12 weeks post-HZ vaccination.

The authors assessed immunogenicity using VZV-specific interferon gamma ELISA and an in-house ELISA. They analysed clinical outcomes, including adverse events, HZ occurrence and RA flares.

A recent study by Gagliardi ang colleagues showed that HZ vaccine was well-tolerated and effective in preventing HZ disease, with protection lasting for 3 years. [Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2016;3;3:CD008858]

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Most Read Articles
Pearl Toh, 14 Feb 2018
Menopause was associated with worsening of physical function in women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), suggests a study.
15 Feb 2018
Women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) appear to have better functional status prior to menopause, with a recent study reporting that menopause is associated with a worsening progression of functional decline in RA.
04 Oct 2017
Both males and females with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) suffer from significantly higher risks of bone fracture than those without RA, according to a new meta-analysis. Specifically, the risks of hip and vertebral fractures are elevated in RA patients.