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Old 12-04-17, 12:57 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Try gabapentin/Neurontin, if she hasn't already, or consider asking to increase the dosage. It's very effective with neuropathic pain in some folks, and appears to be quite safe for most patients.
My mom got shingles a few years before she passed away - it would have been in 2012, so she was 87 when she got it. A lot of pain, and unfortunately, the gabapentin made her lose her hearing within a few weeks of starting it, which had been very good until then. She ended up with hearing aids, which helped, but it wasn't the same. Eventually, they put her on Lyrica. Neither the gabapentin or the lyric gave her very good pain control, alas.

Just something to check with your doctor about - hearing loss is, I understand, a pretty common side effect of gabapentin, especially in patients 70 and over.
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Old 12-04-17, 01:01 PM   #52
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Here is another PSA (info from my doc):

My understanding is that until recently, the shingles vaccine was not terribly effective. Perhaps only 60%. My uncle had the vaccine and STILL got shingles. So don't kick yourself too hard for not getting it. It may have not made a difference.

There is a new vaccine that has just become available. It is in the order of 80-90% effective.

So if you eschewed the vaccine before because of ineffectiveness, this may be your time.

I had shingles when I was about 27 years old and it SUCKED. I intend to get the new vaccine.

Thanks from me, too, I was planning on getting the shingles vaccine when I turned 60 - I researched it and found it wasn't that effective if given earlier. This new vaccine sounds really promising, and I will definitely get it as soon as it's available.

Seeing the pain, hearing loss, and general suffering my mother went through when shingles hit her at age 87, almost 88 actually, even if I had to pay $1000 out of pocket for the new vaccine (I have no idea what it costs, I haven't found anyone near me that actually offers it yet, nor any cost estimates), it would be well worth it. My mom had the rash/blisters/scabs for at least 6-8 months, and still had shingles pain when she died, 3 years laster.
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Old 12-04-17, 04:53 PM   #53
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Thanks from me, too, I was planning on getting the shingles vaccine when I turned 60 - I researched it and found it wasn't that effective if given earlier. This new vaccine sounds really promising, and I will definitely get it as soon as it's available.

Seeing the pain, hearing loss, and general suffering my mother went through when shingles hit her at age 87, almost 88 actually, even if I had to pay $1000 out of pocket for the new vaccine (I have no idea what it costs, I haven't found anyone near me that actually offers it yet, nor any cost estimates), it would be well worth it.

I got my shot of the old version last year at age 57 - doctor and insurance company both recommended it.
Doctor billed $380 and insurance paid the contracted $204 and my copay/deductible was zero - besides for the office visit.
My doctor was actually arrested (!) last year and I don't have a new one yet... I'll probably be ready for a physical about the same time the new vaccine is available, and that'll be a good time to meet a new doctor.
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Old 12-04-17, 07:48 PM   #54
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It's not just a "old" persons disease, my son (26) got it and it was in his eye. After a few months and many visits to the eye doctor, it went away.
I was at a local tavern talking with 3 other people. The topic got onto shingles. All 3 said they had gotten shingles in their 30's. I got the vaccine.
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Old 12-04-17, 08:09 PM   #55
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If it's not proven by a clinical trial, it's intrigue and nothing more.
It sounds like you'd rather have someone else doing the thinking for you,
instead of doing the research yourself.
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Old 12-04-17, 08:43 PM   #56
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It sounds like you'd rather have someone else doing the thinking for you,
instead of doing the research yourself.
By research do you mean run your own clinical trial with thousands of subjects? Or do you mean just using google?
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Old 12-05-17, 08:44 AM   #57
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By research do you mean run your own clinical trial with thousands of subjects? Or do you mean just using google?

Oh, you mean like this?
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Old 12-05-17, 12:41 PM   #58
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...the gabapentin made her lose her hearing within a few weeks of starting it, which had been very good until then. She ended up with hearing aids, which helped, but it wasn't the same. Eventually, they put her on Lyrica. Neither the gabapentin or the lyric gave her very good pain control, alas.

Just something to check with your doctor about - hearing loss is, I understand, a pretty common side effect of gabapentin, especially in patients 70 and over.
Hearing loss isn't generally associated with gabapentin. There are a handful of documented cases of hearing impairment but those were associated with other complications such as renal failure.

I wouldn't be concerned about hearing loss as a significant risk with gabapentin. While gabapentin is one of those mystery meds that aren't yet fully understood, the benefits far outweigh the risks for some folks, including a friend with traumatic brain injury, and my mom as an adjunct therapy for her moderate dementia (along with Namenda, Aricept and others). It's comparable to discovering that migraines could also be relieved or minimized using beta blockers, anti-convulsants and meds like valproic acid normally used to treat bipolar disorder.

More than likely the main reason why some drugs may be associated with hearing loss in older patients is because... we're getting older. I've experienced significant hearing loss in my left ear over the past few years. I don't take any daily prescription drugs, and use muscle relaxers only a few times a year for severe neck spasms. I do take OTC allergy meds and ibuprofen, none of which are considered serious risks for hearing impairment.

The main reason for the left ear hearing loss is... I'm old. I just turned 60 and the body isn't liking it much. Combined with years of exposure to loud music and gunfire (even though I was very conscientious about using ear plugs and muffs), it's a wonder I can still hear fairly well out of my right ear. Bike riding may be a factor -- the left ear is more exposed to road noise on highways.

My high frequency hearing is pretty much gone with my left ear. And recently I'm noticing I need to turn my head and ask folks to repeat something they've said. Depends on ambient noise, voice tone and pitch, etc. A couple of my cycling friends are women with helium voices. It's adorable although I don't say that because they're also very independent and tough as nails, so it's not an affectation to be "cute". Their voices do not by any means accurately reflect their personalities. But increasingly I'm pretending I have ear congestion from allergies or whatever so I'll have an excuse to ask them to repeat something they've just said. But the fact is, I'm going deaf in my left ear. Runs in the family. Pretty soon I'll turn into my granddad.

Temporary hearing impairment is also a common side effect of opiates. Remember when radio personality Rush Limbaugh went "deaf" back in the 1990s? Then he was miraculously cured? Oxycontin. Yeah, he also claimed to have an auto-immune disorder (I sympathize, I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, with many seemingly unrelated but connected minor health complications). But when he kicked the addiction to oxy his hearing improved. Having taken oxy briefly after a car wreck broke my back and neck in 2001, I can vouch for the hearing impairment. Everything sounded muffled when I was taking oxycontin, like my ears were filled with water and cotton. And I took it very rarely -- a one month supply lasted me 10 years because I took it only when the neck pain was unbearable. Turns out muscle relaxers were more effective with fewer risks.
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Old 12-11-17, 10:07 AM   #59
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I was looking forward to a lot of rides this fall but early in September I contracted a severe case of shingles. Its been painful, irritating and debilitating. Consequently no riding since about September 4th. Just now feeling a bit better although I still tire easily. Of course my doctor had advised getting the vaccine but I never thought it would happen to ME. Please if you're over 50, get the shot, don't leave it to chance like I did.
There is not doubt older people should get a shot for shingles, and pneumonia. So many old people die of pneumonia.
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Old 12-11-17, 02:39 PM   #60
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A few years ago at 50 y/o I developed trigeminal shingles on the right side of my face. The shingles blisters rose along my outer lip, jaw, cheek, eye and ear. At first I thought I had a major dental cavity from the nerve pain along the jaw and went to my DDS. He examined me and advised me I had shingles.

The blistering took several days to fully develop and crust over after starting the antivirals. The neuralgia only lasted for a couple of weeks after the initial onset of symptoms. My case of shingles was mild compared to the images I have viewed on the web.

Since then, I took up road cycling to better manage my job stress.
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Old 12-11-17, 02:58 PM   #61
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I got shingles when I was 24, during law school. It sucked and I do not wish to experience that again. Vax me up.
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Old 12-11-17, 02:59 PM   #62
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+1 on the new vaccine. Fortunately, it's available at no cost for employees over 50 at the hospital where I work. I've taken care of enough shingles sufferers to be motivated to do whatever will minimize my risk.
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Old 12-12-17, 01:13 PM   #63
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+1 on the new vaccine. Fortunately, it's available at no cost for employees over 50 at the hospital where I work. I've taken care of enough shingles sufferers to be motivated to do whatever will minimize my risk.
Shingrix is available at your hospital already? That's encouraging.
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Old 12-17-17, 12:03 AM   #64
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I didn't get the existing shot because I read it was 50-50 or less. I'm all aboard for the new vaccine. My doc has no idea when it will be available through Kaiser/Medicare Advantage. I'll keep bugging her about it. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 01-01-18, 01:36 PM   #65
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Timely thread. After receiving the flu immunization yesterday the pharmacist asked if we also wanted the new shingles vaccination. After a bit of discussion decided to put it off pending research.

Next time in the store will be vaccination time.
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Old 01-01-18, 04:58 PM   #66
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Timely thread. After receiving the flu immunization yesterday the pharmacist asked if we also wanted the new shingles vaccination. After a bit of discussion decided to put it off pending research.

Next time in the store will be vaccination time.
Would seem to be a genuine New, Improved product. Last I checked, was not yet in our hospital system's formulary but I need to see if the local drugstores have it. My most recent immunizations have been through the CVS nurse practitioner clinics.
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Old 01-01-18, 05:51 PM   #67
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Would seem to be a genuine New, Improved product. Last I checked, was not yet in our hospital system's formulary but I need to see if the local drugstores have it. My most recent immunizations have been through the CVS nurse practitioner clinics.
I asked my own doctors office whether they had it, and they did not (put me on the list to be notified). I might go by CVS and ask however - that's another option.
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Old 01-03-18, 10:30 AM   #68
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FYI-for any vets getting health care through the VA, the older vaccine is available. It was free for me as I have a priority 3 disability rating. I'm not sure if there is a cost associated with lower priority ratings. The original study was done through the VA.
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Old 01-08-18, 03:15 PM   #69
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Correct that shingles is not a herd immunity thing - herd immunity only applies to contagious illnesses.
Perhaps someday if, because of childhood immunization, chickpox becomes uncommon, then so too will shingles. The only folks who are at risk of shingles are those who have had chickenpox. Which includes almost all of us here.
Correction: Shingles is a low level herd immunity thing because someone who has not had chickenpox and who has not been vaccinated against it (chickenpox) can catch it if exposed to an open shingles lesion. Not aware that happens very often.

Wait, so I'm good since I've never had Chickenpox? My siblings had it while I was in the womb. I've never had it and treated a couple of my boys for it with no problems.
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Old 01-08-18, 09:33 PM   #70
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Wait, so I'm good since I've never had Chickenpox? My siblings had it while I was in the womb. I've never had it and treated a couple of my boys for it with no problems.
Most people of a certain age have had chickenpox, whether or not they remember. A blood test can tell for sure whether or not you have immunity to it because of prior illness/exposure.

Someone who has not had chickenpox or been vaccinated for it, can contract chickenpox from someone ill with the disease or, more rarely, from contact with another person's open shingles lesions.
On the other hand, someone who has not had chickenpox cannot develop shingles. Gotta have chickenpox previously to develop shingles later.
When in doubt about whether or not a shingles vaccination (or a chickenpox vaccination) is needed, check with a healthcare provider. (Not an RN on a bicycle forum.)
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Old 01-08-18, 10:42 PM   #71
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Oh, you mean like this?
Hee, hee! Natural medicine is great because "the known laws of nature are violated by its basic claims" (Wikipedia).
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