Can You Get Shingrix If You Are Taking Antiviral Medication?

The pharmacist discusses whether or not it is recommended to get the shingles vaccine Shingrix if you are taking an antiviral medication such as valacyclovir.

Question

How long should patient wait to take Shingrix vaccine after a patient took Valtrex 1 gm by mouth every 8 hours for 7 days for herpes zoster?

Asked by do remi On Jun 23, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jun 26, 2018

Shingrix, unlike Zostavax, is not a live vaccine. Therefore, being on an antiviral medication such as acyclovir, Valtrex (valacyclovir) or famciclovir theoretically should not be a concern with Shingrix. In addition, the prescribing information for Shingrix does not list any antiviral as interacting with Shingrix. In fact, it only lists immunosuppressive therapies as interacting medications as they may reduce the effectiveness of Shingrix.


Nevertheless, as there is a lack of data regarding the potential interaction with antiviral medication and Shingrix, your doctor may recommend simply following the recommendations in place for Zostavax, which is a live vaccine, and is known to be affected by antiviral drugs. The recommendation for Zostavax is:

  • Zostavax should be administered at least 24 hours after stopping your antiviral drug (e.g. valacyclovir). The antiviral should not be started again for at least 14 days after vaccination per the Immunization Action Coalition.


As stated above however, any antiviral therapy is unlikely to interfere with the effectiveness of Shingrix.


Summary

  • Shingrix is not a live vaccine and therefore, should theoretically not interact with antiviral medication.
  • There is a lack of data available regarding immunization with Shingrix while taking antiviral medication and a cautious approach may therefore be recommended.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

About Shingrix

Shingrix is a recombinant vaccine recommended for adults at least 50 years of age and older to prevent shingles and related complications. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that all adults 50 years of age and older and without a contraindication (e.g. an allergy) receive herpes zoster vaccination with (Shingrix), even in those who previously received Zostavax. Shingrix is given as a two shot series, with doses separated by 2 to 6 months. In studies, Shingrix has been shown to maintain its efficacy for longer periods of time when compared to Zostavax. In addition, Shingrix is not a live vaccine, unlike Zostavax.

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