Published on July 30, 2018
Should chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients get a shingles vaccine? Is it safe to get during treatment? From the 2018 CLL Live Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada, noted CLL expert Dr. Nicole Lamanna, from Columbia University Medical Center, explains what type of vaccine is recommended for patients, how it works and when it’s appropriate to get. Dr. Lamanna also shares what is available for CLL patients who have already had shingles. Watch now to find out more.
Transcript | An Update on the Shingles Vaccine for CLL Patients
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In this session it came up, there's a new shingles vaccine with a dead virus.
And we were traditionally told as CLL patients, don't have a live virus. Get the flu shot with a dead virus, but don't get a shingles shot with a live virus. Well, now there's one approved in the U.S., and our Canadian friends said it's available here, too.
What are you telling both patients who have CLL but have not been treated or, like me, I'm taking acyclovir because I have been treated to prevent shingles that I don't want to have. What do we do?
So, absolutely. If it's—again, it was recently approved. Probably about eight to 10 weeks now that it got approved in the U.S., so it may not be readily available yet in pharmacies. It's a two?series shot. But for those who have never had shingles and are untreated I think that absolutely is acceptable to receive.
It was not tested on patients with immunosuppressed conditions or CLL per se, so we don't know—we don't have a lot of data on our patient population. However, just like the flu shot and pneumonia shot, again, if—we hope that it would either, if somebody got shingles either shorten their duration or prevent them from getting shingles as something we would recommend. So, absolutely, I would recommend it.
When we talk about people who are on treatment, and this is a little bit of a—there is not a consensus about this—certainly if patients have had a history of shingles will this vaccine help those individuals? Will they make antibodies to prevent or be on prophylactics, as you said that you're on now? I still recommend prophylaxis for my patients who are—who have a history of shingles and are receiving therapies to prevent reactivation because I know they've had it before until I have more definitive data that this vaccine will also help in that patient population as well.
But if they got it, probably no harm, you know, so I don't think it makes a difference. It's just that I might try to persuade those individuals just don't take prophylaxis if they had a bad case of shingles. We'll just have to wait and see.