Anti-TNF therapy can boost shingles risk

January 14, 2013

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who use anti-tumor necrosis factor treatments may have an increased risk of shingles, according to researchers.

 

Manchester, United Kingdom - Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who use anti-tumor necrosis factor treatments may have an increased risk of shingles, according to researchers.

Using data from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register, investigators with the University of Manchester and the University of Birmingham assessed the potential link between anti-TNF therapies and shingles risk, Arthritis Research UK reports.

The risk of shingles was significantly higher among patients using anti-TNF therapies than those taking nonbiological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, the researchers found. Patients taking anti-TNF therapies also were more likely to develop skin and soft tissue infections.

Of those patients using anti-TNF therapies, the risk of developing shingles was highest for those using infliximab and lowest among those using adalimumab, the investigators noted. They suggested evaluating herpes zoster vaccinations in the at-risk population.

The study was published in the February issue of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases