Untreated Depression Decreased Efficacy of Shingles Vaccine
The varicella zoster virus vaccine is less effective in older adults with depression who are not receiving antidepressant medication than adults with depression who are, according to the results of a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Adults aged 60 years or older had lower levels of varicella zoster virus (VZV) specific responder cell frequency (RCF) at baseline compared with adults who were not depressed, and their levels of VZV-RCF remained significantly lower up to 2 years after vaccination.
In contrast, adults who were depressed, but who were receiving antidepressants, had significantly higher levels of VZV-RCF after vaccination compared with untreated adults, and were able to reach levels of VZV-RCF equivalent to undepressed participants by 6 weeks post-vaccination.
Based on these results, treatment with a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor among adults with depression may "increase the efficacy of zoster vaccine, and, possibly, vaccines against other important pathogens."
The abstract of the study is available here.