Herpes Zoster: Description of the Associated Burden and Its Preventive Strategies

Pierre-Olivier Lang


The burden of illness and healthcare resource utilisation associated with herpes zoster is substantial, causing severe loss of quality of life (QoL). Herpes zoster incidence varies from 1.5 to 5.0/ 1,000 person-years in adults of all ages, and reaches 10 cases/ 1,000 person-years in individuals aged ?60. The most frequent and debilitating complication is post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). In the absence of antiviral therapy, up to 45% of ?60 year-olds experience pain which persists for 6 months to a year. The importance of preventive strategies for PHN is becoming widely recognised. Systematic reviews confirm the short-term benefits gained from antiviral drugs, but they do not reduce the incidence of PHN. When, complementary analgesic drugs are often required, prescribing advised medications in old, frail, co-morbid and poly-medicated patients must be carefully considered. Consequently, the first HZ vaccine with proven efficacy thus promotes healthy ageing and improved quality of life.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/res.v4n1p107

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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