ARTHRITIS MEDICATIONS LINKED TO SHINGLES
One of the more common classes of drugs used to treat people with Rheumatoid Arthritis is called TNF (Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor). As the name sounds, it was originally used as a chemotherapy drug. Dr. Kimme Hyrich and his team of researchers from the University of Manchester in England discovered some shocking news for those taking this class of medications. The results were published in the February 2013 issue of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Approximately 12,000 patients taking TNF drugs for RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS were looked at. The three most common TNF drugs patients take for Rheumatoid Arthritis were the subject of the study. They are.....
Not only did the incidence of Shingles (Herpes Zoster) more than double for those taking the TNF drugs, their incidence of other skin infections increased as well. Although some of this has to do with the disease itself (RA is an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE), much of it has to do with the drugs that are given to treat it. Because Autoimmune Diseases involve the body making antibodies against itself and then attacking itself, the drugs that are given are typically Immuno-suppressive. Although CORTICOSTEROIDS are a popular Immuno-suppressive drug, there are many other drugs that could be classified as such, including TNF.
Furthermore, of the 'severe' cases of shingles (severe was defined as bad enough to require hospitalizations), 20 out of 21 cases were from the TNF group. The TNF group's Shingle patients were far more likely than the non-TNF group to have widespread (multi-dermatomal --- see below) Shingles as well as Shingles in the eye. But that's not all. The rates of other serious skin infections (Staph, Necrotizing Fasciitis, cellulitis, and others) went up significantly as well.
PROGRESSION OF SHINGLES:
This process typically takes about 3-6 weeks to run its course, with the acute phase (through #3 above) being finished within the first two weeks. However, in some cases, a painful condition called post-herpetic neuralgia (post-Shingles nerve pain) can occur. This form of neuralgia has the potential to be severe.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).