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Steroid induced Shingles?

Hi everyone, I'm new here and am wondering if anyone else has experienced Shingles as a result of Steroids? I was diagnosed about 18 months ago with seropositive RA. I take MTX and Hydroxychloroquine. I had an initial Depo-Medrone jab to help until the drugs kicked in. All was well until I had a bad flare a few months later. I'd been advised that I could have a Depo shot at such times, which I duly had. A couple of days later I had a Shingles outbreak-an awful experience! The upshot being that since then I've not been allowed any Steroids for fear of it happening again-except for one occasion when I was allowed to take a low dose of Prednisalone for 5 days. This worked amazingly well and I felt virtually symptom free for the week. I've asked for it since to manage flares but My Rheumatologist explained that at my age(59) there were too many risks attached. My flares are getting worse and more frequent -I've currently been flaring for over 4 weeks. I've asked about Sulfasalazine but my Rheumatologist is afraid this may also trigger another Shingles outbreak. (Obviously if it happened I'd have to suspend MTX) Any advice would be most welcome!

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So sorry I can't add anything to shed light on this but i find myself in the position of having suspected chicken pox(second time - had it as a kid) and I am on MTX and pred.

Have Togo to docs this morning and get it confirmed and start anti virals.

It seems adult / immune compromised chicken pox is a potentially scary business.

Good luck with the shingles - it's the same virus right? You seem caught between a rock and a hard place! Hope the flare subsides and soon and a resolution can be found...


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Hi. I got shingles a couple of months before I was diagnosed with RD. I thought it is because my immune system is compromised. It hasn't stopped me being prescribed sulfasalazine, methotrexate and steroids injections which haven't triggered anymore shingles. Hope it works out for you.

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Yes I got them Too. Steroids were never mentioned as a cause so I just thought it was the lowered immune system to blame. I'm on Methotrexate, predictions and now starting leflunomide. M x


Predictions? prednisolone!


Get protection against get single injection


Sorry spelling is shingle


Hi I'm on MTX and Hydroxchloroquine and due to a flare I'm on a prednisone taper...I'm 68! My RH consultant has it written into my notes for my GP that a Prednisone Taper is 'my rescue remedy' unless you have diabetes, osteoporosis, age shouldn't be a stand alone reason for prescribing it....if you are having frequent flares it sounds like your other meds need looking at, maybe adding another Dmard..

I don't think the vaccine for Shingles can be used for those of us on MTX as it is a 'live' vaccine and can potentially give us's a mine field!

Hope you get sorted soon, I had the summer from hell last year but have bounced back to a semblance of normal life..

Take care




Just recovering from my sixth attack of shingles in as many years. Now have the anti virals at hand for when it strikes so that I can start treatment immediately. Last year started doing my own research as I was suffering numerous infections as well as shingles. Deduced that I was immunosuppressed. On reviewing my immunoglobulin levels my Rheumatologist confirmed that I was hypogammaglobulaemic i.e. my levels were very low. This had been missed at the hospital! In fact my levels had been very low since 2012.

I have had RA over 40 years. Am now 65. Have been on methotrexate over 30 years as well as prednisolone. Also been on rituximab infusions since 2008. In November I was given 2 infusions of immunoglobulins and now make sure I monitor my own levels of immunoglobulins. Think they are low again and due for bloods next week. The dose of rituximab has since been reduced to a half dose six monthly.

I post here to make people aware of the danger of immunosuppression and encourage you to monitor your own blood levels. I don't want others to go through the problems I have had over the past few years. The repeated infections included campylobacter, chest infections and UTIs.

Oh and by the way if you are immunosuppressed you can't have the shingles vaccine as it is a live vaccine.

Hope this helps. Best wishes Pam


You can't have the shingles vaccine in the UK unless you are in your 70's and only when your date of birth falls between certain dates. I've never been able to understand the reasoning for this. Clemmie

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Maybe because the shingles vaccine is also mega expensive ...£200+ ?

I had an attack of shingles in February 2016......having just come off Leflunomide......but Rheumy said I could still have Depo injections.......which caused no problems.

Now on Rituximab since October 2016 - no other meds & everything very manageable. flares just really painful wrists & hands if I overdo things.

Walking around with my fingers crossed everything doesn't go pear shaped!


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