Methotrexate & Shingles

I've been getting Shingles on average of once per year since 1995. I got chicken pox late in life and two years later Shingles. I've gotten shingles three months in a row. The first two times was right after a flare and today is has to be because of the methotrexate because I'm not experiencing any pain with my disease. The only pain I'm experiencing is the area with the shingles. You can't win! I was extremely happy because of my lack of pain. The doctor told me I could get shingles with this medication and I was like no way it won't happen but it did.

Do any of you experience Shingle outbreaks with any of the RD meds?

23 Replies

  • Guess, they cant give you that new medication which helps with shingles if caught within first couoke of days.

  • I've always have taken the medicine upon onset of shingles for the first three days.

    gonna call the doc Monday to make sure I still can


  • before going onto mtx I told the doctor that I have never had chickenpox or shingles. They thought that I had immunity so did a blood test, but it came back that I had no immunity. The only way I can have the vaccination is to come off the mtx injections for a while, but that could cause a flare. I now have to avoid anyone who has had contact with chicken pox, which mean't I couldn't see my daughter and grandsons for over 3 weeks as first one, then the other grandson caught it!! I think you should ask the rheumy if there are any alternatives to mtx as continuous attacks of shingles must be awful. I hope you feel better soon x

  • Thank u :-)

  • I had shingles last Nov. Not eligible for the shingles immunisation at present (wrong age), but my doctor said if I had repeated attacks then they would do it. Can you get the immunisation?

  • Thanks for your reply. See my reply below. :-)

  • Hey I'm glad I seen this I'm on full dose now medtrex it's only ha live for working for me so I seen Dr speilist no step is hopefully biologics so I c your not on it ask them anyways be to shingles I've just had few like blister bites on my feet they are active feet atm could this be shingles I hope u get better soon day by day ,)

  • Thank U :-)

  • My understanding is that you can't take the shingles vaccine if you are taking MTX or any of the biologics. When I was in remission for 6 mos, I waited 3 mos then took the shingles vaccine. I got chicken pox in my 40s s and then shingles in my 60s. So it was a concern.

  • Hello JaneAllen. That's right. No vaccine as long as your on MTX. the only thing I see that's allowed is a flu shot only while on this drug.

    I have never asked about the shingles vacinne. I assumed it wasn't an option for me since I've gotten shingles at least 25 times. The doc and I talked about shingles and I'm thinking she would have suggested it before putting me on the meds since she knew my shingles history.

    She also said that Meloxicam could cause shingles when she prescribed that initially but it never happened and I've been on it for approximately one month and then pops up shingles within four days of taking my first dose of MTX.

    Thanks for your response.

  • It never rains but pours by the sounds of things....I cannot imagine getting shingles now as well. I was on Arava and my skin seemed to just peel off my legs and was absolutely taunt across the chest so had to stop

    Arava. Now I am back on Methotrexate and was hoping the skin problem will sort itself out only to read this comment....

  • Hello! You're right. When I get shingles luckily it's only about the size of a quarter or a little more but the pain can be the magnitude of a vehicle. Lol

    The mass of the shingles depends on the person. I've gotten it in the same exact spot for twenty years.

    Just wait remember everybody is different with this disease. You might not ever have to worry about it.

    One thing I have learned fr this site is that we think the worse because of what others go through but it can really be different for us.

    Good luck to you

  • You cannot get a shingles shot while on biologics because the shingles vaccine is live. I have never heard of being on methotrexate and no able to take the vaccine. I haven't had Shingles. I have not had the vaccine and have been on metho for 7 years+ and biologics for 4. I am in my 60's!

    Get rid of those shingles!!!!!! Blessings!

  • Thanks. Luckily this is a very mild case. They have been around long before RA. They have been my friend for 20 years and I've only been diagnosed with RA for one month.

  • I looked into this and my GP was willing to give it to me (as I was off Mtxate and biologics) and although I'm under 70 she was going to get that. If I'd have had to pay I think it'd have been worth to have had the vaccine, except that it doesnt last very long. So I gave that up. But if I come off the biologic I might try getting the vaccine.

  • Hello. How long is the vacinne supposed to last?


    this is helpful it says about three years.

  • Thank u! So you have to be 70 to get the vacinne?? I have 25 more years to go. Lol. I've been getting it since the age of 25.

  • Looking at the website about the shingles immunisation it says that it has now been shown safe for people on Methotrexate ,but not for biologics.

  • I suppose I need to do my homework to see what the differences are between biologics, etc.

  • Hi 1-min-at-time,

    I have put a link to the guidelines produced from the BSR about the shingles vaccine that you might find interesting. They say that:

    "Therapy with low dose methotrexate is not considered sufficiently immunosuppressive and is not a contraindication for administration of the Zoster vaccine"

    As always you must check with your rheumatology team before receiving any vaccinations

    Hope you find this helpful


    Beverley (NRAS Helpline)

  • Thank you Beverly. :-)

  • I was told you CANNOT get the shingles vaccine while on MTX......

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