Document Type



Medical College Pakistan


Background: Patients on immunosuppressive therapy are at a greater risk for herpes zoster reactivation and are more likely to have adverse outcomes. Propylactic antivrials and vaccinations may potentially prevent these complications.Methods: Medical literature addressing the clinical course and therapy of herpes zoster in patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy for autoimmune disorders, and the roles of anti-viral prophylaxis and vaccination was reviewed. Research databases including PubMed, Ovid, Medline, Google Scholar and Cochrane were utilized.Results: Acyclovir and its derivatives are most commonly used in this setting for treatment and reduction of post-zoster complications. Foscarnet may be used for acyclovir-resistant strains. At both conventional and ultralow doses, acyclovir has proven effective when used as prophylaxis, reducing the incidence of zoster and its complications in immunosuppressed patients. Additionally, ultra-low doses are associated with significantly reduced side effects. The zoster vaccine, Zostavax, a live-attenuated vaccine has shown promising results in several clinical trials. However, live-attenuated vaccines should be cautiously used in immunosuppressed patients. For patients who require immunosuppressive therapy, vaccination 2-3 months prior to therapy may be appropriate.CONCLUSIONS: Prophylactic antiviral therapy and vaccination help significantly reduce morbidity and mortality from zoster reactivation in patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Ayub Medical College

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.