Receipt of Thyroid Hormone Deficiency Treatment and Risk of Herpes Zoster

Over the years, we have seen quite a number of people reporting that they suffered from shingles. Maybe this will be of interest?

Int J Infect Dis. 2017 Apr 24. pii: S1201-9712(17)30127-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2017.04.016. [Epub ahead of print]

Receipt of Thyroid Hormone Deficiency Treatment and Risk of Herpes Zoster.

Hsia SV1, Chen LH2, Tseng HF3.

Author information

1 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland 21853, USA. Electronic address:

2 Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Research, 100 S. Los Robles Ave, 2nd Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101.

3 Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Research, 100 S. Los Robles Ave, 2nd Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101. Electronic address:



Thyroid hormone (TH) has been suggested to control the herpes virus gene expression and replication in neurons via epigenetics through its nuclear receptors. Previously, we showed that hypothyroidism patients were predisposed to herpes zoster (HZ), suggesting that the TH deficiency may be a risk factor of Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) reactivation. The aim of this investigation was to test the hypothesis that the TH treatment will ameliorate the complication of HZ.


The present study investigated the hypothesis by enquiring into a comprehensive medical database at Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) to verify if patients taking thyroid hormone medication would experience reduction of herpes zoster occurrence.


It was shown by a Kaplan-Meier plot that hypothyroidism patients taking TH medicines had a lower risk of HZ. The fully adjusted analysis indicated that patients receiving medication for TH deficiency treatment exhibited a reduced risk of HZ (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.51-0.71). This lower risk of HZ was significant in all age group except the 18-39 years of age cohort. In addition, female patients with TH treatment exhibited a lower risk than the male counterpart.


Together these findings supported the hypothesis that a constant level of TH would provide a layer of protection from contracting HZ. More studies are underway to evaluate the lab data for an analyses of hormonal effects on individuals.

Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Herpes Zoster; Levothyroxin; Shingles; Varicella Zoster Virus; hypothyroidism

PMID: 28450196

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijid.2017.04.016

Full paper (though it is fairly short), available here:


Featured Content

Join our community

The community helps everyone affected by thyroid conditions by providing support, information and guidance.


Featured by HealthUnlocked

4 Replies

  • Interesting both my mother and I had shingles and were later diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

    Thanks for this info

  • I have never had chicken pots. My friends have had shingles but I stayed well away. Both my friend were on treatment for cancer. If the body is overloaded perhaps it's easier for shingles to develop, especially in times of stress.

  • Thanks Helvella!

    Another good reason to keep our thyroid hormones topped up.

    I had chicken pox at 45, & felt so ill, I thought I was going to die. I felt wiped out & still ached all the year after, when I was incorrectly diagnosed with FM. I was certain this was triggered by the virus, & have lived in fear of shingles. The general aches dissipated, when I started taking NDT.

  • Maybe the findings will help researchers connect the dots to finally understand that a lack of thyroid hormone has a negative and devastating effect on all systems of the body.

    It's another finding in the right direction!

    Thanks so much for posting.

You may also like...