The controversy over vaccines is strong these days. People are strongly for or against them.
There is one vaccine, however, you most likely want to take if you’ve developed arthritis, at least before you use any prescription medications.
But only if you had chickenpox as a kid.
Numerous studies have found that shingles is more common in the arthritic population than it is in their healthy non-arthritic counterparts.
To make the situation even worse, the most common drugs doctors prescribe for arthritis tend to suppress your immune system’s response to shingles even further, meaning that physician-treated arthritics often carry a double risk for shingles.
Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox.
After having chickenpox as a child, the virus remains dormant in your body throughout your adult life, putting you at risk of shingles when it unexpectedly erupts again.
In a new edition of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, researchers describe a study in which they claim that a shingles vaccine is essential for arthritis patients.
In the study, they gave 112 patients with rheumatoid arthritis a shingles vaccine two to three weeks before they started the common anti-arthritis drug called tofacitinib (a Janus kinase inhibitor, for those who want to be technical).
Half of them were given tofacitinib while the other half was given a placebo or fake treatment.
The patients given the vaccine were no more likely than non-arthritic people to develop shingles, whereas non-vaccinated arthritis patients frequently had shingles.
One of their participants did develop a Varicella Zoster infection, but it was later learned that this person did not have chickenpox as a child. Varicella zoster is the virus in the vaccine that is supposed to trigger the immune response against the awakening of the herpes zoster virus.
This suggests that the vaccine should be given only to arthritics who had chickenpox as children. After all, those who didn’t have chickenpox are at very low risk of getting shingles.
But the real question is, do you want to use prescription medications with serious side effects or do you want to cure your arthritis naturally?