Living your best life with arthritis.

Do Anti-TNF drugs boost risk of herpes zoster in inflammatory disorders?

Not according to recent findings.

Shingles is a major concern for people with autoimmune conditions, particularly people who are older and more at risk for developing shingles in general. Shingles is caused when the same virus that causes chickenpox, which stays hidden in the body, is reactivated.

This recent study focused on people with autoimmune diseases.  The medicine to treat some of these conditions are called anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drugs. They suppress the immune system. As a result, they can increase the risk of some infections.

The new study looked at records for about 60,000 people with autoimmune diseases. It compared shingles rates for those who took anti-TNF drugs and those who took other drugs. There was no increase in shingles among people taking anti-TNF drugs. People taking high doses of another type of medicine called a corticosteroid had twice the odds of developing shingles.

Read more: Serena Gordon, HealthDay, March 2013