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Can rheumatology patients have the shingles vaccine?

The shingles vaccine is a live vaccine, and as such cannot be given to patients taking the following rheumatology medication:


  • Etanercept (Enbrel)
  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • Infliximab (Remicaide)


Non TNF biologics

  • Rituximab (MabThera)
  • Tocilizumab (Actemra)


However, patients taking  the following medication can have the shingles vaccine:

  • Methotrexate
  • Sulphasalazine (Salazopyrine)
  • Hydroxychloroquine  (Plaquenil)
  • Leflunomide (Arava)


Patients on prednisone can have the shingles vaccine if:

  • duration of prednisone treatment (any dose) is <14 days, or
  • duration of prednisone treatment is ≥14 days and dose is <20 mg/day


Note that the flu vaccine can be given to patients taking any of the above medication, including TNFs and non-TNF biologics.


Last updated : Thursday, August 30, 2018

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