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PMR & GCA people should read up on this matter. Quite often we don't read the Patient Information leaflet which is provided by the manufacturer or we are given the medication first and then read the leaflet.

1. Organisation: Public Health England

Page history: Published 23 August 2013

2. The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from this version because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged.

Para 2 What you need to know before you receive ZOSTAVAX

Line 3 if you have been told by your Doctor that you have a weakened immune system as a result of a disease, medicines and other treatment.

5 Replies

Unfortunately, the first link that you gave does not work.



It works now - I just tried it. Have another go.


Useful info as I am just beginning to get over shingles. Speaking with friends I have clearly had a mild dose. One place on my back - where I can't reach it of course - has been really annoying at night and wakes me with sharp shooting pain and intense itch but it doesn't last long and paracetamol takes the edge off it. I seem to be able to ignore it during the day as I am back to keeping busy, except when I still crash on the sofa and need to rest sometimes. Question: I read that shingles is a side effect of coming off pred. Can anyone confirm this? I wonder if continuing on with low dose pred can make shingles itself reappear? Do we, PMR sufferers, qualify as people with weakened immune systems?


Hello janimaths

To answer your question, my experience wasn't to contract shingles as a "side effect of coming off pred", but to succumb in the early days when on higher dose treatment (starting dose 40mgs).

At diagnosis, I had been advised to avoid people with chickenpox because of my steroid-weakened immune system leaving me vulnerable to shingles.

I didn't recognise the rash as shingles for some time so didn't get in very quickly with the anti-viral medications, thus suffering some nerve pain for many months following recovery of the shingles.

Whether or not to have this 'live' jab is a very personal decision for everyone, and even though I am now off steroids, if I am unlucky enough to contact shingles again, I will hopefully be experienced enough to recognise it this time and get in immediately with the anti-viral treatment to hopefully knock it on its head, shorten its duration and avoid the ongoing nerve pain.

I'm sorry to hear that you've succumbed to shingles but glad that you're now recovering well.


Thanks Celtic. My experience exactly. Only saw practice sister on day six of pink weals appearing and missed the 3 day window for the anti viral jab. Will know to shift if they come up again. Meantime I am personally dubious about putting yet another vaccination into the mix, flu jab coming up soon, natural inclination to take as little medication as I can get away with. We live and learn.

I visit a man of 93, sharp and observant, who volunteered yesterday that my face looks thinner and we don't talk about my PMR. So he doesn't know I've had it. Yes!! better days on the way. Cowal peninsula walk tomorrow. Won't be far but glorious views.

I always enjoy your comments - sensible and spot on.


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