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Shingrix and peripheral neuropathy

Neuropathy | Last Active: Mar 12 1:36pm | Replies (530)

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I received the 2nd Shingrex dose on February 12, 2019. I am a 62 year old male and do not have diabetes. Two nights later in bed, I experienced intense itching on my legs, feet, arms and hands. A few nights later, I experienced intense "electrical tingling" throughout my body along with nausea and lower abdominal pain. I don't know how else to describe this awful sensation. By morning, it was gone. This quickly evolved into regular daily sensations of burning feet, itching, tingling, or pin pricks of pain in these same locations. I became so alarmed that I made an appt. at the Neurological Dept at the University of Michigan. They listened to my story, did some blood tests, and gave me an MRI of my neck. Their vague diagnosis was either cervical arthritis or inflammation brought on by exercising. They offered no explanation for the leg and foot symptoms. Their recommendation is to start taking Gabapentin and get something called cervical traction from a physical therapist. I did mention to them that I had recently gotten the 2nd Shingrix dose but at that time I had not yet realized that the symptoms started only two days later and they had no reaction in any case. (We only realized this fact last night when we looked at the date of the vaccination). The only side-effect I had from the first dose was an extremely sore arm. It has been just over three months now and my feet are burning as I write this. There are symptoms every day with some days better than others but this has taken the joy out of my life.I will be seeing my PCP in two days. My greatest fear is that this may never go away and i am really just p****d off about this. I realize that it is probably impossible to prove that my symptoms are due to Shingrix but the timing is certainly suspect. I wish I had never heard of Shingrix. - Jim in Michigan

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Replies to "I received the 2nd Shingrex dose on February 12, 2019. I am a 62 year old..."

Sorry to hear this, Jim. I finally got to ask my neurologist about any potential connection between Shingrex and neuropathy; with a good explanation than I can't totally remember and/or provide. But basically he said that shingles is caused by a virus and neuropathy is a nerve disorder- totally different mechanisms at play- and that I should get the shots.
Still wary. Your story makes me even more nervous..
Thanks for sharing. Hope your burning settles!
Lori in CA

Jim- I just read your post to my 65 year old husband who also is not diabetic and has developed peripheral neuropathy in both of his feet. Just tonight, I was researching other causes and when I saw virus infections like that which causes shingles, I immediately lined up his Shingrix vaccines to his new onset peripheral neuropathy. We agree that the timing is indeed suspect...have you had any improvement since you posted your comments?

@19jimmy57 Did your symptoms ever subside? I experience the same thing only mine just got worse as time went on. I'm now 15 months out and have been diagnose with severe small fiber neuropathy. I would be interested to know if you found any treatment plan that helped you.

I realize your post was from back in 2019. Wondering how your symptoms are now. I got a Shingrix vaccine, with the 2nd dose in Feb 2021 and have had similar symptoms to what you describe and more: burning, tingling, prickly, scratchy sensations in back, near elbows, above needs, calves, feet for 5 months now. Had thoracic MRI done - normal. Blood work for all kinds of things all came back normal. Getting an EMG done here soon. I took an antiviral med for 3 weeks (probably about 5 months too late) and now Gabapentin for the past month. All regular clothes feel like sandpaper on my back so the only clothes I can wear are anything made out of nylon. Can't sleep on cotton sheets, too scratchy. At least I can wear some clothes. Like you, hoping this doesn't last for life. There can be worse things, but aggravating when you try to do something good for your health and it turns out bad. If I would have known what negative things Shingrix could do, I would never have gotten the vaccine. Not all vaccines are good for people and anything we do, whether we get it or not, has risks. I have good days and bad days.

The vaccine is known to cause Gilliam Barre syndrome/GBS (rare but it happens). It also is known to trigger other underlying conditions, including nerve disorders. This has been confirmed by my own doctor and my pharmacist. I had the first (of 2) doses a week ago and it triggered the worst case of sciatica ever. I am in so much pain, and I've been advised not to take the second dose (due in 2 months). I am also very afraid that this sciatica pain will radiate outward to the rest of my body which will then be diagnosed as GBS. I know 2 people who had the first shot and one now has sciatica, and the other is very sick. This is a terrible vaccine. It replaces a previous version that was very dangerous.