Prompt antiviral therapy was associated with lower incidence of subsequent stroke (IRR 0.83 per 100 patient-years [95% CI 0.70–0.98]).
Conclusion: In patients with autoimmune diseases, incident HZ was associated with as much as a twofold increased risk of stroke in the subsequent few months. In younger patients, we hypothesize that the HZ-related relative effect on stroke risk is greater than that observed in this analysis.
Given the public health implications of these observations, new urgency should be directed at increasing the rate of administering vaccinations for zoster in vulnerable populations.
Excerpted and adapted from:
Calabrese LH, Xie F, Yun H, et al. Herpes Zoster and the risk of stroke in patients with autoimmune diseases. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017 Feb;69(2):439–446. doi:10.1002/art.39855