Shingles Drug Approved for People 50-59 Years of Age

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, March 24, the use of Zostavax, a live attenuated virus vaccine, for the prevention of shingles in people 50 to 59 years of age. Zostavax, manufactured by Merck & Co. Inc., is already approved for use in people 60 years of age and older.

Shingles affects approximately 200,000 Americans between the ages of 50 and 59 every year, more commonly in people with weakened immune systems. It is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is a virus in the herpes family and the same virus that causes chickenpox (ICD-9-CM code 053.9 Herpes zoster without mention of complication). After an attack of chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in certain nerves in the body, only to reappear in the form of shingles later in life.

“The likelihood of shingles increases with age. The availability of Zostavax to a younger age group provides an additional opportunity to prevent this often painful and debilitating disease” said Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Shingles is characterized by a rash of blisters that generally develop in a band on one side of the body. The rash can cause severe pain that may last for weeks–and some people, for months or even years after the episode.

Source: FDA news release

4 Responses to “Shingles Drug Approved for People 50-59 Years of Age”

  1. Sheila Warner says:

    This is fantastic news. As a nurse I have seen what shingles can do. It has also afflicted friends and family members. I’ll be asking for this at my next doctor’s appointment.

  2. Terri Rose says:

    I had shingles in the past year. Age 58 – will the drug prevent a re-occurrence? Or is this only if you have not had shingles?

  3. Debbie Harden says:

    I had shingles at the age of 55 on my face. I had a severe headache for weeks and was admitted to the hosptal. Broke out 4 days later. Stayed in the hospital for 8 days. Ended up on methadone for 6 weeks after. Still have to take Lyrica. I would highly recommend anyone to get this, even if you have to pay. I did receive Zostavax after the incident, not sure if it will help with ny future outbreaks.

  4. Boston says:

    What a joy to find such clear thinking. Thanks for potsnig!

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