Indexed on: 28 Jun '07Published on: 28 Jun '07Published in: Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
Herpes zoster is a neurocutaneous disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus and is associated with significant morbidity and long-term sequelae in older adults. Until recently, treatment options for these complications have been primarily targeted at disease state management and symptom relief. Zoster vaccine live is the first vaccine approved for the prevention of herpes zoster. The vaccine was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for adults aged 60 years or older. Results of the Shingles Prevention Study demonstrated that in older individuals, administration of zoster vaccine live reduces the burden of illness associated with herpes zoster by 61.1%, the frequency of herpes zoster pain and discomfort by 51.3%, and the frequency of postherpetic neuralgia by 66.5%. Overall, adverse events reported in clinical trials of zoster vaccine live were classified as mild. Events that occurred more frequently in zoster vaccine live recipients than in placebo recipients included injection site reactions, headache, respiratory infections, fever, flu syndrome, diarrhea, rhinitis, skin disorders, respiratory disorders, and asthenia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recently recommended universal vaccination for those 60 years of age and older, including those who have experienced previous episodes of shingles.