Herpes Zoster Risk Among Patients With Hidradenitis Suppurativa

herpes zoster
herpes zoster
Investigators examined the incidence of herpes zoster in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa who were and were not exposed to immunomodulation.

The risk for patients with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) developing herpes zoster (HZ) infection is low, even with immuosuppression therapies, according to a study published in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

A retrospective cohort analysis, approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, examined at 30,355 individuals from the Explorys database, active from 2012 to 2017. The goal was to determine the incidence of HZ in people diagnosed with HS. Researchers compared the risk of developing HZ in participants with and without exposure to immuosuppression therapy.  Immuosuppression therapies considered included adalimumab, infliximab, methotrexate, cyclosporine, azathioprine, or glucocorticoid.

In individuals who did not receive immuosuppression therapy, the incidence of HZ was 0.42% in patients with HS and 0.38% in patients without HS. In individuals exposed to immuosuppression therapy, the incidence of HZ was 1.27% in patients with HS and 1.03% in patients without HS.

The study showed that immuosuppression therapies increased the incidence of HZ in patients with HS, but the risk was still low—below 2%. “While the need for vaccination should be assessed individually for patients,” researchers concluded, “those with HS generally may not require HZ vaccination, even with immunomodulation, prior to the age of 50 years.”

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Disclosures: This study was funded in part by an education grant from AbbVie. An author declares affiliation AbbVie and other drug companies. Please see reference for a complete list of authors’ disclosures.


Wertenteil S, Strunk A, Garg A. Incidence of herpes zoster among patients with hidradenitis suppurativa: a retrospective population-based cohort analysis. [published online August 6, 2018]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2018.07.045