Shingrix Effective in Older Adults With Preexisting Immune-Mediated Disorders

The adjuvanted recombinant zoster vaccine Shingrix appears to be effective in older adults with autoimmune diseases who are not receiving treatment regimens that suppress the immune system, according to a post hoc analysis of patients in two clinical trials.

A two-dose regimen of Shingrix was effective in 90.5% of a subset of patients in two phase 3 clinical trials of adults who were aged at least 50 years, according to Alemnew F. Dagnew, MD, of GlaxoSmithKline and colleagues. The lowest rates of effectiveness with Shingrix, for patients aged between 70-79 years, was 84.4%, the researchers reported in Rheumatology.

The CDC recommends adults aged at least 50 years receive two doses of Shingrix to help prevent reoccurrence of herpes zoster, or Zostavax (zoster vaccine live) if adults are allergic to components of the Shingrix vaccine or have tested negative for varicella zoster virus immunity.

Dagnew and colleagues evaluated Shingrix in 983 patients who received two doses of Shingrix and 960 patients who received placebo from the ZOE-50 and ZOE-70 trials, where each dose was administered at least 2 months apart. The mean age of patients in both groups was 68.8 years in the Shingrix group and 69.4 years in the placebo group, and more than half of patients in both Shingrix (59.9%) and placebo groups (60.8%) were women. About 7% of the patients in two clinical trial had a pIMD.

At enrollment, the most common preexisting immune-mediated disorders (pIMDs) were psoriasis (215 patients taking Shingrix vs. 239 patients on placebo), spondyloarthropathy (109 patients taking Shingrix vs. 89 patients on placebo), rheumatoid arthritis (96 patients taking Shingrix vs. 94 patients on placebo), and celiac disease (41 patients taking Shingrix vs. 34 patients on placebo). Dagnew and colleagues examined the subgroup of patients with pIMDs for safety and vaccine efficacy, which was defined as not developing herpes zoster before the second dose.

Overall, the efficacy of Shingrix was 90.5% across all age groups (95% confidence interval, 73.5%-97.5%), with the group aged between 70-79 years having the lowest rate of effectiveness (95% CI, 30.8%-98.3%). The rate of severe adverse events was 14.6% in the Shingrix group and 11.7% in the placebo group between the first Shingrix dose and for up to 1 year after the second dose. The most common adverse events were infections and infestations as well as cardiac disorders. “Our data show a balance between study groups in the frequency and nature of SAEs, confirming the favorable safety profile of [Shingrix] in populations with pIMDs,” Dagnew and colleagues wrote.

The researchers acknowledged that the ZOE-50/70 studies were underpowered to detect the efficacy and safety of Shingrix in individuals with pIMDs but said that the large number of participants in the studies let them estimate efficacy and adverse events for this subgroup. They also noted there was no randomization of pIMDs at enrollment, even though pIMDs occurred at similar rates between Shingrix and placebo groups.

This study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline; the company helped with conducting and analyzing the study and also provided the costs associated with publishing it. Five authors reported being an employee of GlaxoSmithKline during the time the work was conducted, and four of the five own stock in the company. One author is now an employee of UCB. One author reported having served on the advisory boards for Merck Sharp & Dohme, GlaxoSmithKline, and Curevo.