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 18 February 2018

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News

Herpes zoster vaccine is safe among IBD patients being treated with anti-TNF medications

A study recently published in the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics examines the safety of herpes zoster vaccination among inflammatory bowel disease patients being treated with anti-TNF medications.

News image

The risk of herpes zoster is elevated in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients treated with anti-TNF medications.

While it is optimal to give herpes zoster vaccine prior to initiation of therapy clinical circumstances may not always allow this.

Dr Khan and colleagues from Pennsylvania, USA determined the safety of giving herpes zoster vaccine while patients are on anti-TNF therapy.

The researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study involving IBD patients who were followed in the Veterans Affairs healthcare system between 2001 and 2016.

Patients who received herpes zoster vaccine while on anti-TNF medication were identified through vaccination codes, and confirmed through individual chart review.

The team's outcome of interest was development of herpes zoster between 0 and 42 days after herpes zoster vaccine administration.

The researchers evaluated 56,417 patients with IBD in the Veterans Affairs healthcare system.

Median age at the time of herpes zoster vaccine was 65 years
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

A total of 59 individuals were on anti-TNF medication when they were given herpes zoster vaccine, and amongst them, 20% were also taking a thiopurine.

The team found that median age at the time of herpes zoster vaccine was 65 years, and 95% of patients had a Charlson Comorbidity Index of 2 or more.

The researchers noted that the median number of encounters within 42 days after receiving herpes zoster vaccine was 2.

No case of herpes zoster was found within 0-42 days of herpes zoster vaccine administration.

Dr Khan's team concludes, "Our data suggest that co-administering the herpes zoster vaccine to patients who are taking anti-TNF medications is relatively safe."

"This study significantly expands the evidence supporting the use of herpes zoster vaccine in this population, having included an elderly group of patients with a high Charlson Comorbidity Index who are likely at a much higher risk of developing herpes zoster."

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2017: 46(7): 668–672
15 September 2017

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