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Carol Eustice

TNF Blockers for Rheumatoid Arthritis Do Not Increase Risk of Shingles

By March 5, 2013

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TNF blockers, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and some other inflammatory conditions, work by suppressing activity associated with the immune system. Because of how they work, patients and experts have expressed some concern that TNF blockers may increase the risk of shingles. According to study results published online in the March 6, 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is no increased risk of shingles associated with the use of TNF blockers.

It is known that people with rheumatoid arthritis already have an increased risk of shingles, so it is good news that TNF blockers don't add even more risk. The study assessed data from about 60,000 people with various autoimmune conditions. There was no increased risk of shingles linked to medication, except for people who were taking more than 10 mg. of corticosteroid medication per day. Those patients had twice the risk of developing shingles.

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