View Full Version : Shingles?

11-19-2006, 03:12 PM
Has anyone ever had the shingles? I just got off of Methotrexate after 4 month and am back on 200mg plaquenil twice a day. And now I have a painful rash on my lower back and front hip bone. My regular Lupus rash was never painful like this and I think it might be shingles. Any suggestions? (I thought I was getting better).


11-19-2006, 03:48 PM
Hi, Deb? Have you ever had chicken-pox? Because if you've never had chicken-pox, then you can't get shingles, since it is a re-activation of the virus that caused the original chicken pox. Shingles often starts with pain and itching in the affected area, which turns into small red spots and then a blistery rash. These are usually incredibly itchy and painful and may leave scars as they heal. Prompt treatment with steroids and anti-virals can shorten the course of shingles and reduce the chance of developing postherpetic neuralgia (pain which persists after the rash heals, sometimes for years). People on immune suppressants are at higher risk from developing skin infections as a complication of shingles, so you definitely need to see your doctor if you think this is shingles. And remember that someone who has never had chicken pox or the chicken pox vaccination can actually catch chicken pox from someone with shingles, so keep this in mind if you have young children.

11-19-2006, 04:04 PM
Thanks for the info! I have had the chicken pox and this actually started with pain two days before the rash started, like when your skin hurts when you have the flu. These are red dots in small round clusters and are painful as they rub againts my clothing. I am just recently healing from vascularitis on my arms and hands and those have been healing nicely...and now this. I will take your adivse and get it checked out.


p.s. luckly no young children...just teenage boys who have had the chicken pox.

11-19-2006, 04:13 PM
Yes, definitely call your doc - without treatment shingles can last 3-5 weeks - you don't want to deal with that! Once the dots start to blister and get fluid in them, they may start to itch, just like chicken pox. So be sure to ask your doctor for something for the itching too. :)

12-06-2006, 09:32 PM
Oh, another person with shingles! I don't know if you're still watching this post tho. Have you been diagnosed yet?

I started with shingles last week, diagnosed yesterday. On my chin of all places.

I wasn't on any meds tho, so I'm thinking it's just my wacky immune system acting up.

Anyways, how are things going for you? Have you had any treatment for them?



12-07-2006, 08:24 AM
Yes, I was diagnosed and treated with Valtrex. Was gone in just over a week. Funny though, I had just stopped taked Methotrexate a week before I got them. How long were you off your meds before you got them? Might be a connection.
Is a really odd place for the shingles...hope it's not too painful!

12-07-2006, 01:21 PM
I wasn't on anything like methotrexate, just plaquenil and anaprox. I've been off the Plaquenil at least 3 months, the anaprox I still take but not every day, only when I need it.

For me, I don't think the medications are connected.

For you, methotrexate affects your immune function, so it probably was related to that. How long were you on it? Even though you were off it for a week, it had probably already affected your immunity plus it probably takes time to leave your system completely.

I wasn't treated for my shingles, too late past symptoms developing for the antivirals to help. I've had them for about 1 1/2 weeks, they are healing and they haven't spread.

:) Kathy

12-08-2006, 02:00 PM
Hi Kathy,

I was on the Methotrexate for 5 months. I just couldn't take it any more I felt so horrible all the time so I stopped taking it on my own. I've decided not to take any other medication aside from the plaquenil for while to see if only the plaquenil helps me. I have also discussed this with my Reumatologist. Have a terrible rash on my hands and feet that I just can't seem to shake. Have had it for six months. My doctor thinks it might be vasculitis...it's deep red spots and marks...any suggestions?

Yes, I belive it affected my immune system bad as I'm also having inner ear trouble and pre cancer cells of the cervix. I've opted for a topical treatment as I don't think my body is ready for any procedures or sugery. Do you know of any Lupies with problems with cancer?

Hope you are feeling better. Really can't imagine having shingles on my face.

Take Care!

12-08-2006, 03:48 PM
Deb, you may find this interesting and your post gets me wondering how much is a result of the meds, and how much a result of the deranged immune system.

December before last I had cervical dysplasia, the cells one step before cancer. Had them removed with with the LEEP procedure, done right there at the gynecologists office. Only meds I was on were the plaquenil and the anaprox, and I don't think it was either of them. My gynie mentioned it probably had something to do with my immune system.

Just curious, have you ever been tested for epstein barr virus? I was diagnosed with chronic epstein barr before the lupus.

Don't know anyone personally with lupus and cancer, but I'm sure there are some.



12-10-2006, 09:03 AM
Hey Kathy,

That is exactly what is going on with me but decided not to do the Leep procedure and try medication. I had the Leep done a year ago. I was only taking 250mg of Plaquenill a day then. Now 500. Yes, talk about wacky immune systems. An immune system in Chaos! Have never been diagnosed, but will certainly check into Epstein Barr. Thanks for sharing with me!


12-10-2006, 10:00 AM
Have you been tested for HPV -human pappiloma virus? Because researchers believe this virus is the one responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer. Often HPV is a subclinical infection that doesn't cause any particular symptoms, so women may not know they are infected with the virus. Even some gynecologists and family practice doctors are not well-informed about the HPV - cervical cancer connection, so you may need to get the facts and then push your doctor for the test. There are more than 100 types of HPV, but most are "low-risk", meaning they are not likely to lead to cancer or other serious illness. Others are "high-risk". HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, and 35 have been all been linked to cervical cancer. These high-risk HPVs may also be linked to increased risk of other cancers such as bladder cancer. You can go to this link for more information -

You might want to print out some information to take to your doctor. But any woman with cervical dysplasia or an abnormal Pap test needs to educate herself about HPV, so you know what tests to ask for, and whether you have an increased risk for developing cervical cancer.

Women 26 and under should also ask about being vaccinated against HPV - there is an FDA approved vaccine already available to prevent certain types of high risk HPV infection - and other vaccines are in the works. Since women with impaired immune systems may be especially vulnerable to viral infections, it's very important to talk to your doctor about HPV.

12-10-2006, 10:35 AM

You are an utterly amazing women. An encyclopedia full of medical knowledge. I am glad to know you. Thank you, and yes I have been diagnosed with HPV. A most common diagnosis these days in women. I am not worried about this however. Lupus worries me more as my Lupus is so darn unpredicable and NOT curable.

Thanks again Mary...you are truely an inspiration to all.

12-10-2006, 11:29 AM
Hi, Missdeb - thank you for the kind words. I appreciate them. But I worry that both we and our doctors sometimes get so focused on the lupus that we develop "tunnel vision" and forget women are at risk for other health problems too. Even though I have both CNS and kidney involvement with my lupus, it was the problem that didn't get much attention from my doctors - osteoporosis - that has caused the most pain and disability. So I always try to get everyone to pay equal attention to other health issues too. :)

12-10-2006, 01:50 PM
I read the Imuran in particular may increase risk for shingles. Has anyone else read/heard that? I just started on Imuran a week or so ago (am also on plaquenil, prednisone and neurontin...just stopped taking methotrexate.)

12-10-2006, 04:46 PM
Negative for HPV here.

Just some interesting things I have come across:

Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)has been linked to other types of cancer although not cervical. EBV is a herpes virus, most of you probably know it causes mono, but it can go dormant in your B-cells, it can also cause a chronic disease with mono type symptoms. It is now believed that EBV is not as benign as it once was thought to be.

The virus that causes shingles is also a herpes virus, herpes zoster, which has gone dormant in your nerves and can be reactivated in those with depressed immune function, and/or those under stress.



12-10-2006, 04:52 PM
Yes - the shingles virus is the same one that causes chickenpox - so if you've never had chickenpox, you can't get shingles. And someone who has never had chicken pox can contract it from someone with shingles. So maybe as more people are vaccinated against chickenpox, shingles will become less common.

12-11-2006, 10:05 AM
Hello all -

My sister also has Lupus and she had chiken pox when all us kids did - I think she was 4. However, after Lupus dx and during grad school, she got a nasty case of shingles. I think she was on plaquenil, but I don't know what else at the time.

FYI, she also has had the cervical dysplasia.........

12-12-2006, 01:43 PM
I have never read anywhere that plaquenil affects immune function, either positively or negatively. Anyone else on that one?

I didn't get shingles until I was off the plaquenil for about 3 months.



12-12-2006, 02:20 PM
I have had chicken pox about 4 times now.It wasn't even when my lupus was acting up. I have numerous bouts of shingles. Whenever I get sun burn it will turn into shingles. One time I got shingles from being stressed. My chicken pox are not sore but the shingles sure are! My Grandmmother had sjogrens/lupus and she would get shingles also.