Do you question that correlation between Botox and Shingles?

I had Botox injections 4 times over a 2 year period.  Each time I contacted shingles.  3 Times on the one side of the forehead and one time on the other side and shingles continued along hairline.  Each time I was diagnosed and one time had to go to the hospital and was diagnosed with shingles there as well.  There is no doubt that shingles were caused by the Botox. I have had regular Botox injections since I have been 60.  I am now 76 and I just started getting shingles the last 2 years.  Has the formula changed?  Is it because of age?  Note:  The shingles started AFTER I had the shingle vaccine so I think that is a bit suspicious but doctors say there is no correlation there.  I hope someone would know the answer to this or have a suggestion.  I have been told by dermatologists to just start on the shingles medication as soon as I have Botox injections.  My thought is that Allergan should advise people that Botox COULD CAUSE SHINGLES.  One dermatologist in New York told me that he starts all of his patients on shingle medication when they have any cosmetic work done on their face (Botox, fillers, etc.)

Doctor Answers 5

Botox and shingles

Thank you for your question Robinre. I am sorry to hear about your situation. Botox is a purified protein used to address wrinkles associated with facial expression. Shingles is a virus that many people carry. It lies dormant in nerves and outbreaks are seen during times of stress such as lack of sleep or other changes that occur with aging. Sometimes people do not even know they have it, but it can appear after cosmetic treatments near the area such as injections. This most commonly occurs with deeper treatments such as fractional CO2 lasers. For this treatment in our office we treat our patients who undergo such treatments with preventive anti-viral medications. Usually outbreaks are not seen after Botox treatments. But if they do for my patient I would recommend preventive valacyclovir before and after a treatment. It is important to understand that Botox itself does not cause shingles or herpetic outbreaks, but trauma such as needle injections can induce outbreaks. Research has demonstrated that the shingles vaccine is effective. But nothing is 100% effective. Also the vaccine only lasts for a certain number of years. Some people require re-vaccination more frequently. Please consult with a doctor for specific recommendations. Good luck!

Encino Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Botox and Shingles

Botox can not cause the shingles virus.  Shingles is caused by re-activated herpes virus.  Are you sure you are not talking about a herpes virus infection that you are getting repeatedly? If so, you should ask your dermatologist for Valtrex to be treated prophylactically for your infection.  I hope that this information helps.

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Botox and Shingles

Botox does not cause shingles.  I even use it to treat post-herpetic pain in patients.  There is no evidence to date to think otherwise.  I wish you the best of luck, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

You don't get shingles from botox...just doesn't may be confusing shingles and the cold sore virus...

and shingles basically never occurs more than once and certainly doesn't happen on multiple occasions with the rare exception of some severe underlying disease or immunosuppressive treatment...herpes simplex infections not only recur frequently but may mimic herpes zoster / shingles...assuming you indeed have a viral infection, this is by far the most likely explanation...and the botox per se is unlikely to have anything to do with it...rather it's the actual shot - trauma to the skin...happens all the time...and of course you don't "catch" anything from the sterile medication...if indeed you have an infection with herpes simplex - the cold sore virus - it's something you caught a long time lives harmlessly and without any hint of its presence and comes out with irritation of the skin...most likely living in your nerves for years to decades...

Ken Landow, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Botox and Shingles

I have injected Botox for over 15 years. I have injected thousands and thousands and thousands of people with it. As young as 18, and as old as 87. None of them have had shingles outbreaks from it. Unfortunately you could be one of the few that the vaccine clearly doesn't protect and in fact it gave you a form of the virus which your body isn't able to get rid of, even with meds. So, you may always be prone to getting a shingles outbreak anytime something is injected. It isn't the Botox itself; it's the injection. For instance, many people will get a herpes outbreak on their lips if injected with any form of hyaluronic acid. It's not the hyaluronic acid specifically - it's the injection itself. Causing any kind of trauma triggers an outbreak. So in your case, getting Botox, and the injections themselves, can trigger the shingles to rage again. I'm sorry you are going through this, but the best advice is for you to avoid getting injections, of any kind.

"This answer has been solicited without seeing this patient and cannot be held as true medical advice, but only opinion. Seek in-person treatment with a trained medical professional for appropriate care."

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.