Shingrix Vaccine is Recommended for Adults Over 50

Herpes Zoster vaccine reduces overall risk of shingles associated complications
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The new herpes zoster vaccine was found to work very well for seniors, according to a new study published in Science.

The adjuvanted herpes zoster (HZ) subunit vaccine demonstrated high efficacy against HZ and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), in seniors over 50 years of age, in 2 randomized, observer-blind, large phase 3 clinical studies.

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These large clinical trials NCT01165177 and NCT01165229 found Shingrix reduced the risk for HZ-related complications, other than PHN, by 93.7 percent in patients over the age of 50 and 91.6 percent in patients older than 70 years of age.

The number of hospitalizations in these 2 clinical trials was not statistically significant. Additionally, Shingrix also lessened the incidence of HZ-complications in immunocompetent older adults, according to this study.

And, Shingrix reduced HZ-related complications, including PHN, by 91.3 percent in patients aged 50+ years and by 88.6 percent in patients aged 70+ years.

Herpes zoster results from the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) reactivation in sensory ganglia years after the initial infection.

Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common HZ complication, and is seen in over 30 percent of adults aged 50+ years, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Based on these new results, these study investigators concluded that “vaccination with two doses of Shingrix substantially reduces the overall risk of HZ-associated complications among adults 50+ years.”

During October 2017, the FDA approved Shingrix for the prevention of herpes zoster in adults aged 50 years and older.

Many vaccines are made from a weakened form of the virus.

But, Shingrix is made from just a single protein known as glycoprotein E, that comes from the outer shell of the herpes zoster virus. Shingrix contains an adjuvant--a substance that helps your body respond more strongly to the vaccine.

It is the first shingles vaccine to combine a non-live antigen with a specifically designed adjuvant.

To better facilitate a product comparison between Shingrix and Zostavax, which was approved in 2006 by the FDA, a one-page reference was created for anyone’s review.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides current vaccine information.

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Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

This study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline Biologics. These researchers did not disclose conflicts of interest.