Patients who are or have taken statins may be at an increased risk of developing herpes zoster, says a new study published in PLOS ONE. The authors of the study, which involved 189,436 subjects (47,359 cases with herpes zoster; 142,077 controls), found that across all age and gender groups, prior statin use was significantly linked to herpes zoster occurrence (odds ratio [OR]: 1.29). Subjects in the 18–44 years group had the highest adjusted odds ratio (OR) at 1.69, compared to the 45–64 years group (OR: 1.44) and >64 years group (OR: 1.14). The exact mechanism by which statins increase the occurrence of herpes zoster is unknown although it is speculated that immunomodulatory effects are at play. Even irregular statin use was associated with herpes zoster occurrence, although the risk was lower than with regular statin use. Given that statins are commonly prescribed medications, the effect they have on herpes zoster occurrence is one that should be explored in future studies.
This study investigated the association between statin use and herpes zoster (HZ) occurrence in a population-based case-control study.