25 March 2011

Shingles Vaccine (Herpes Zoster)

This is not about diabetes; however, many people with diabetes can develop the painful rash known as shingles. Vaccination for herpes zoster (shingles) in older adults has been shown to reduce the risk of this condition. This also happens irrespective of age, race, or the presence of chronic diseases. This is the findings of a study published in the January 12 issue of JAMA.

Since the above came out, the Food and Drug Administration has lowered the age from 60 and up (in May 2006) to 50 and up. More studies are still required for further action, but at least people will be able to get once they attain the age of 50.

This vaccine has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of individuals from developing herpes zoster. There has been a lot of resistance to its use by clinicians and patients. I agree that solutions need to be found to allow people seeking to receive this vaccine and help them reduce to risk of having this painful experience.

The pain of herpes zoster can be physically disabling and it can also last for months and even years. To date approximately one million episodes occur in the USA each year. Apparently the risk does not vary by age at vaccination, sex, race, or with the presence of chronic diseases. It was determined that the vaccine created a 55 percent reduction in herpes zoster.

Chances are that if you can get the vaccination, you may have the ability to be involved in a study to assist in further analysis of the effectiveness of the vaccine. The most common side effects appear to be redness, pain, and swelling at the injection site and a headache.

Read about the article here and the FDA approval on March 24, 2011 here. And if you have more questions, WebMD has some answers here and here. Be sure to read the last reference if you have had chicken pox and look around the page and check out other information from the first WebMD link.

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