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I have not been officially diagnosed with MS, but my neurologist says she's 99% certain and wants me to start on DMDs. Tecfidera seems to be the best option. I'm 47 and had shingles about 10 years ago. It was a relatively mild case, but painful enough for me to be wary of ever getting it again. I've read that immune suppressants increase the risk of getting shingles again, so I'm wondering whether I should get vaccinated before I start on Tecfidera. I've read about the live vaccine Zostavax and a new non-live one, Shingrix, that has just been approved here in Europe. It needs to be taken twice, six months apart. Both vaccines are described as being approved for people over 50 years of age. Should I get vaccinated before I start on the Tecfidera?
There is no specific data on this. An episode of shingles boosts immunity to the virus and may help protect you from getting shingles again. Although it is uncommon, some people may get shingles more than once. The effectiveness of the zoster vaccine in preventing repeated episodes of shingles has not been demonstrated in clinical studies. That said, it is considered safe to get.
Benjamin M. Greenberg, MD, MHS
Vice Chair of Translational Research and Strategic Initiatives
Cain Denius Scholar of Mobility Disorders
Distinguished Teaching Professor
Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics
Department of Pediatrics
UT Southwestern Medical Center
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