Systemic steroids ‘raise risk of shingles’

Elderly patients should be treated with as low a dose as possible, researchers say

Systemic corticosteroid use is linked to a 60% higher risk of developing herpes zoster, with the odds highest in the first month of treatment, Australian researchers have found in a population-based study.

The data linkage research, drawing on the longitudinal 45 And Up cohort in NSW (mean age 70), found zoster risk increased sixfold in the month after receiving a steroid script compared with non-users of steroids.