Friday, February 15, 2013

Depression May Diminish Response to Shingles Vaccine

Patients with untreated depression may have a higher risk of developing shingles, may develop more severe cases of shingles, and be less responsive to the vaccine against shingles. Researchers at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience in Los Angeles presented results of their recent study in the online February 13 Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The Depression Substudy of the Shingles Prevention Study (SPS) was designed to evaluate the association between major depression and immune responses to a high-titer live attenuated varicella zoster virus (VZV) vaccine (zoster vaccine), which boosts cell-mediated immunity (CMI) to VZV and decreases the incidence and severity of herpes zoster (HZ). The depression substudy was a two-year longitudinal cohort study of 92 community-dwelling adults 60 years of age and older who were enrolled in the SPS, a large, double-blind, placebo-controlled Veterans Affairs Cooperative zoster vaccine efficacy study.
They found that depressed patients have diminished VZV-CMI responses to zoster vaccine, and treatment with antidepressant medication was associated with normalization of these responses. “Because higher levels of VZV-CMI correlate with lower risk and severity of HZ, untreated depression may increase the risk and severity of HZ and reduce the efficacy of zoster vaccine,” they concluded.
(Image: Alexander Raths/


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.