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Zoster vaccine live for the prevention of shingles in the elderly patient

Authors Zussman J, Young L

Published 6 June 2008 Volume 2008:3(2) Pages 241—250


Jamie Zussman, Lorraine Young

Department of Medicine, Dermatology Division, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, California

Abstract: Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a common disease in the elderly population that is caused by reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus. Its manifestations and complications can lead to significant short- and long-term morbidity. In 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved Zoster Vaccine Live (Zostavax®) for the prevention of herpes zoster in immunocompetent adults age 60 and over. The approval was based on the results of a large, multi-center clinical trial, the Shingles Prevention Study. This study showed that vaccination significantly decreased shingles incidence, burden of illness due to disease, and the development of, and severity of postherpetic neuralgia. This review offers an overview of varicella zoster virus infection and complications, a summary of the Shingles Prevention Study, and a critical analysis designed to aid the practicing physician who has questions about vaccine administration.

Keywords: zoster vaccine, shingles, herpes zoster, postherpetic neuralgia, zostavax

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