Untreated depression may stifle vaccine
Depression might lower the effectiveness of the shingles vaccine, a new study found.
The research showed that adults with untreated depression who received the vaccine mounted a relatively weak immune response. But those who took antidepressants showed a normal response to the vaccine, even when symptoms of depression persisted.
Shingles, an acute and painful rash, strikes 1 million Americans each year, mostly older adults. Health officials recommend that those over 60 get vaccinated. The condition is caused by reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox, varicella-zoster.
In the new study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers followed a group of 92 older men and women for two years. The authors of the study speculated that treatment of older people with depression might increase the effectiveness of the flu shot and other vaccines as well.
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