Vaccination Against and Treatment of Acute Herpes Zoster for Prevention of Post-Herpetic Neuralgia
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- Kanbayashi, Y. & Hosokawa, T. Curr Pain Headache Rep (2013) 17: 371. doi:10.1007/s11916-013-0371-6
Zostavax (zoster vaccine) is a 1-dose, high-potency, live, attenuated varicella zoster virus (VZV) vaccine that boosts VZV-specific cell-mediated immunity (CMI), and this is its presumed mechanism of action. Other strategies focus on preventing the major complication of HZ, post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Evidence that the vaccine is effective in older patients comes from the pivotal Shingles Prevention Study. That study demonstrated that HZ vaccine significantly reduced morbidity due to HZ and PHN in older patients. However, the duration of efficacy beyond 5 years after vaccination remains unclear. The Long-Term Persistence Substudy, currently under analysis, may provide additional data on the duration of efficacy for zoster vaccine. This review discusses vaccination against HZ, and further reviews recent pharmacotherapy for prevention of PHN.