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Herpes zoster meningitis in a rheumatoid arthritis patient treated with tofacitinib
  1. Yoshihiro Nakamura1,
  2. Daiyu Honda2,
  3. Naoho Takizawa1 and
  4. Yoshiro Fujita1
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, Chubu Rosai Hospital, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
  2. 2Department of Neurology, Nagoya Daiichi Sekijuji Byoin, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yoshihiro Nakamura; nakamurashift{at}


A man in his 70s with rheumatoid arthritis presented with seizures and coma and was transferred to our emergency department. Two months prior to admission, he started to take tofacitinib 10 mg/day. On admission, we noted a rash with a blister on the forehead, and herpes zoster was diagnosed. Cerebrospinal fluid examination suggested meningitis. An MRI of the brain showed no abnormality. Based on these findings, he was suspected with herpes zoster meningitis. We discontinued tofacitinib and treated the patient with intravenous acyclovir for 2 weeks. He regained complete consciousness, but right forehead skin lesion, severe vision loss in the right eye and right facial nerve paralysis remained as sequelae. Six weeks after admission, we restarted tofacitinib with oral valaciclovir as antiviral prophylaxis. Two years after admission, we administered Shingrix, an adjuvant recombinant vaccine for herpes zoster, and discontinued oral valaciclovir.

  • dermatology
  • infectious diseases
  • vaccination/immunisation
  • infection (neurology)
  • rheumatoid arthritis

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  • Contributors YN drafted the article and revised it critically in cooperation with DH, NT and YF. Planning: YN. Manuscript review: YN, DH, NT and YF. Approval of final manuscript: YN, DH, NT and YF.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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