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View Full Version : Lupus and Dealing with Shingles



befilledwithjoy
12-30-2007, 06:39 PM
Hi, my mom has lupus, was finally diagnosed this past April, only after believing she was really going to die -- she had been treated for liver disease for over 2 years prior. The doctors finally got the lupus under control and she was being weaned off of the prednisone and was so happy to be at that point. Almost 2 months ago she got shingles, for the first time. She was in pain and after 2 weeks they seemed to be going away and she was feeling better, but then it seems to be back even worse. She's been back to the doctor, they've increased the prednisone, given her antibiotics and pain pills. Today she hardly got out of bed at all because of the pain. Does anyone know someone who has had shingles with lupus and can offer any suggestoins? Thanks!

Saysusie
12-31-2007, 10:57 AM
People with Lupus are more susceptible to infections because we have altered immune systems, and also because many of us are on treatment (steroids & cytotoxics) that suppresses our immune system function, leaving us more prone to infection. The most common bacterial infections seen in lupus affect the respiratory tract and the urinary tract. Septic arthritis, tuberculosis, salmonella, cold viruses, & shingles are also very common for Lupus patients.
The standard treatment for shingles are drugs known as corticosteroids and antivirals, such as Acyclovir. For those of us who have a compromised (weakened) immune system, the treatment is essentially the same, however, our doctors will monitor us a bit more closely.

Here are a few tips to help deal with the symptoms and pain of shingles:

Placing a soft, sterile non-sticky dressing or bandage over her lesions will protect her skin from clothing, and it will protect others from direct contact with any open wounds that she may have.
For the pain o shingles, sometimes opoids are prescribed. Some other treatments can include:
Antidepressant drugs, specifically tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, and desipramine

Anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica)

Pain medications, either anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, or opioids, such as morphine sustained-release or fentanyl patches

Topical anesthetics, such as lidocaine gels or patches, which should be applied to healed, intact skin only.

Capsaicin is also growing in popularity as a pain treatment

Shingles Treatment for Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus
Herpes zoster ophthalmicus is a serious complication that can occur if the shingles virus affects a certain nerve around the eye. People who are suspected to have this complication are treated with oral antiviral medications as above AND should have close follow-up with an ophthalmologist.

I hope that this information has been helpful. Please let us know if you need anything further.

Peace and Blessings
Saysusie