FDA licenses new vaccine to reduce risk of shingles for older Americans


Posted on Aug 03, 2006

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has licensed a new medication called Zostavax which is designed to reduce the risk of shingles in people 60 years of age or older. Shingles is a disease caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. After an attack of chicken pox, the virus can lie dormant in certain nerve tissues. As people age, sometimes the virus will reappear in the form of shingles which is estimated to effect 2 in every 10 people during their lifetime. Shingles is characterized by clusters of blisters which develop on one side of the body and can cause severe pain that can last for weeks, months or even years after the virus disappears. This new vaccine, Zostavax, gives healthcare providers an important tool that can prevent illness that effects many older Americans and frequently results in significant chronic pain according to Jessie L. Goodman, M.D., M.P.H., Director of FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

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