By Denise Mann
The provocative finding comes from a study of 463,541 people aged 60 and older with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, or other autoimmune conditions such as psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Some of these people were taking powerful biologic drugs that fight autoimmune disease but leave a person vulnerable to infections.
More than 18,600 of these people got the shingles vaccine, including 633 who were taking or had taken biologic drugs. None of the participants taking biologics developed shingles or related disease in the 42 days after getting the shot. Overall, vaccination was linked to a 39% lower risk of getting shingles over a follow-up period of about two years.
People with autoimmune disease, particularly those on biologic drugs, are at high risk of shingles. But it’s been feared that instead of protecting against shingles, the live-virus vaccine might actually cause shingles in these patients.