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Joint Bone Spine
Volume 84, n° 1
pages 21-27 (janvier 2017)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jbspin.2016.04.001
accepted : 17 February 2016
Herpes zoster: Risk and prevention during immunomodulating therapy
 

Cong Tri Tran a, Alexandra Ducancelle a, Charles Masson b, , Françoise Lunel-Fabiani a
a UPRES EA 3859, laboratoire de virologie, CHU d’Angers, 4, rue Larrey, 49933 Angers cedex 9, France 
b Service de rhumatologie, CHU Angers, 4, rue Larrey, 49933 Angers cedex 09, France 

Corresponding author.
Abstract

Herpes zoster can be serious or incapacitating, particularly in patients whose immune system is compromised by a disease or treatment. Immunomodulating drugs can increase the risk of infection. Well-established risk factors include advanced age and glucocorticoid therapy. The data are somewhat conflicting for medications such as methotrexate, tofacitinib, TNFα antagonists (infliximab, adalimumab, etanercept, certolizumab, and golimumab), abatacept, tocilizumab, and rituximab. Nevertheless, the risk of herpes zoster is increased in patients taking biological agents, because of the underlying diseases and/or effects of the drugs. A live attenuated herpes zoster vaccine has been proven effective and safe in immunocompetent individuals. At present, however, it is not recommended for patients with immunodeficiencies, including those taking biological drugs, as no studies have assessed its risk/benefit ratio in this population. This situation may change in the near future, as recent data support the effectiveness and safety of the herpes zoster vaccine in patients who take biotherapies or have other causes of immunodeficiency. Alternative approaches designed to protect these patients from herpes zoster and its complications are also under evaluation. There is a need to define the indications of the herpes zoster vaccine in terms of the target population, timing, modalities, and frequency, according to the underlying chronic systemic disease, age group, varicella-zoster virus status, and exposure to therapeutic agents.

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Keywords : Varicella-zoster virus, Immunomodulators, Biotherapy, Vaccination




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