There may be an increased risk of herpes zoster in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
This may be due to altered immune function, especially among patients receiving immunosuppressive medications.
Dr James Lewis and colleagues from Pennsylvania performed a retrospective cohort study, and a nested case-control study using 1988 to1997 data from the General Practice Research Database.
In the cohort study, 7823 Crohn's disease, and 11,930 ulcerative colitis patients were evaluated on age, sex, and primary care practice.
These patients were matched to 79,563 randomly selected controls without Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitits.
|A prescription for corticosteroids is associated with zoster|
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
In the nested case-control study, the researchers assessed 185 Crohn's disease patients with zoster and 266 ulcerative colitis patients with zoster.
The researchers matched these patients on sex and year of birth to 1787 IBD patients without zoster.
In the cohort study, the research team found that the incidence of zoster was higher in patients with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis vs their matched controls.
The team noted that in the nested case-control study, receipt of a prescription for corticosteroids or azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine were associated with zoster.
Dr Lewis' team concludes, “Patients with IBD, especially those on immunosuppressive medications, are at higher risk for herpes zoster compared with the general population.”
“Future studies should clarify the relative risk associated with anti-tumor necrosis factor α therapies.”
“The use of the new zoster vaccine for patients with IBD also needs to be determined.”