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Myasthenia Gravis

Shingles vaccine and MG

10/19/2007

Question:

I have myasthenia gravis and am in my early 70s. Would the vaccine be a problem because of my compromised immune system?

Answer:

Zostavax, the shingles vaccine, is a live virus vaccination. The virus has been weakened enough so that it boosts a person's immunity without causing the infection. These types of vaccinations are contraindicated in people who are immunosuppressed, either because of their disease or the medications used to treat their disease.

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease. It does not cause immunosuppression; however, many of the medications used to treat myasthenia gravis are immunosuppressants. These include prednisone, Cellcept, Imuran and Cytoxan, to name a few. You should speak with your physician to determine if the Zostavax vaccine is indicated for you.

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Response by:

Catherine  Kernich, MSN, RN, CNP Catherine Kernich, MSN, RN, CNP
Formerly
Case Western Reserve University

Bashar   Katirji, MD, FACP Bashar Katirji, MD, FACP
Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University