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DoctorS, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 984
Experience:  MD, 30 years of medical practice
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shingles, does that mean that my neurologist would be reluctant

Resolved Question:

If I developed shingles, does that mean that my neurologist would be reluctant to prescribe the vaccine (given your caution) or is a person treated with a different drug if they are actually diagnosed with shingles?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  DoctorS replied 8 years ago.

Hi Barbara,

A vaccine is generally used as a mode of prevention of a particular disease, so if you have already developed the disease, the vaccine will have little use. In the case of the varicella zoster vaccine, it has only been available in the past 15 years and wasn't given to people born before the 80s - but in your case, shingles is a re-activation of the virus and you would be unlikely to benefit from vaccination at this time. You might, however, benefit from an antiviral like famvir. Were you given that?


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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Please can you first answer my second question: Is the shingles vaccine a "live" vaccination? Thank you.
Expert:  DoctorS replied 8 years ago.
Yes, the VZV (varicella zoster virus) vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine which means that it is live virus (but weak). It would only be given to a healthy person without any compromise to their immune system.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
So if a person with Primary Progressive MS, such as myself, is not a good candidate for the shingles vaccination (because of the reasons you gave me in your answer to my first question), what would a physicXXXXX XXXXXkely prescribe for them if they came down with shingles? Would this likely be not suitable for a person with MS?
I have never had shingles, but I would like to be prepared for the plan of attack should I ever be so unfortunate to! Thank you for your best stab at this scenario.
Expert:  DoctorS replied 8 years ago.
I understand your concern. There is no evidence to support prophylaxis in your case, but if you were to develop shingles, you could take an antiviral medication like acyclovir that go by the names of famvir or valcyte. There medications are very safe, available in oral form and highly effective.