Shingles Vaccine (Zoster Shingles Vaccine Live, Zostavax)

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GENERIC NAME: Zoster Vaccine Live (Shingles Vaccine)

BRAND NAME: Zostavax

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Zoster vaccine contains live, attenuated (weakened) varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Varicella-zoster causes chickenpox and then becomes dormant in nerves. VZV reactivates and causes herpes zoster (shingles or zoster) later in life (usually 60 years of age or older) when immunity against VZV declines. Zoster vaccine stimulates the immune system to develop immunity against VZV. The FDA approved zoster vaccine in May 2006.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

PREPARATIONS: Powder for Injection: 0.65 ml

STORAGE: Powder should be stored frozen at 15 C (5 F) or colder until ready to use. Diluent should be stored at room temperature (20-25 C [68-77 F]) or refrigerated at (2-8 C [36-46 F]).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Zoster vaccine is used for prevention of shingles in individuals 60 years of age or older, regardless of previous history of chicken pox or shingles. It is not used for treatment of herpes zoster or postherpetic neuralgia. Zoster vaccine prevents shingles in 51% of individuals 60 years or older. Its effect decreases with age and it is more effective in individuals 60 to 69 years of age.

DOSING: Zoster vaccine is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) in the upper arm. The recommended dose is 0.65 ml.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: In clinical studies, concomitant use of zoster vaccine and Pneumovax reduced the activity of zoster vaccine.

PREGNANCY: Zoster vaccine is not used for preventing shingles in women of child bearing age and should not be administered to pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: Zoster vaccine is not used for preventing shingles in nursing mothers.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common adverse effects are headaches and injection site itching, swelling, pain, warmth, bleeding, and bruising. Some individuals may experience shingles or chickenpox-like rashes within 42 days after receiving zoster vaccine. Transmission of VZV virus from vaccinated individuals to other individuals occurs rarely.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information for Zostavax


Last Editorial Review: 11/9/2010 6:10:30 PM




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