Vaccine coverage under the program for people age 65 and older tends to be much less comprehensive. Vaccines to prevent influenza and pneumonia are covered without a copayment under Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient care, while other vaccines — including the shingles vaccine — are typically covered under Part D drug plans. And those Part D plans may leave some beneficiaries on the hook for all or part of the cost of the two-shot series.
In some cases, shingles can affect the nerves of the face, ears or eyes and cause complications. Complications include the development of facial paralysis, impaired vision and hearing. Another complications is called postherpetic neuralgia, in which the pain of shingles lasts for months or even years. People with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for developing serious complications of shingles….more about Shingles »
EvaluatePharma, which derives its forecasts by averaging the estimates of a number of stock market analysts, predicts U.S. sales of Shingrix could reach $583 million by 2022, and should outstrip Zostavax’s U.S. sales in 2020. It projects that domestic sales of Zostavax will drop by nearly 31 percent by 2022, falling to $337 million from $491 million this year.
^ Hicks LD, Cook-Norris RH, Mendoza N, Madkan V, Arora A, Tyring SK (May 2008). “Family history as a risk factor for herpes zoster: a case-control study”. Arch. Dermatol. 144 (5): 603–08. doi:10.1001/archderm.144.5.603. PMID 18490586.
The two to four weeks of shingles, marked by symptoms such as a blistery and painful rash on one side of the body, can be difficult enough. But about one in five people with shingles go on to develop postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN, which is nerve pain that can linger for months or even years.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the CDC on vaccine usage, also recommended that adults who received Zostavax, a shingles vaccine made by Merck, be revaccinated with Shingrix.
The decision was made just days after the Food and Drug Administration announced approval of the new vaccine, called Shingrix and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, for adults ages 50 and older. The panel’s recommendation gives preference to the new vaccine over Merck’s Zostavax, which has been the only shingles vaccine on the market for over a decade and was recommended for people ages 60 and older.
Advocates for older Canadians are calling on provincial governments to cover the cost of a new vaccine against shingles that will soon be available. Shingles is a painful illness to which seniors are more susceptible and advocates say vaccine coverage should be treated as a public health issue.
The symptoms can include severe pain, itching, a rash and blisters and can last a few weeks, or even months. For some people, shingles develops into a more serious condition called post-herpetic neuralgia, with burning pain that can last years. Some people’s vision or other senses are affected.
Varicella zoster virus is not “curable” because the virus stays dormant in the body for life. Once someone is initially exposed to the varicella virus, immunity develops that generally prevents a second bout of typical chickenpox. However, this immunity may fade over time, making older adults more prone to a later onset of a limited recurrence of the chickenpox virus as shingles.
The shingles vaccine contains ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Avoid the shot if you’ve ever had a reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or other ingredients in the vaccine. You also want to avoid the shingles vaccine if your immune system is weakened due to:
“When we look at the impact on people’s lives, shingles can be so devastating,” said Wanda Morris, vice-president of advocacy at CARP, formerly known as the Canadian Association of Retired Persons. “This is something we really need government to look at.”
Longo DL, et al., eds. Varicella-zoster virus infections. In: Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed May 9, 2017.
You might not expect that the health of your gut has anything to do with whether or not you’d develop shingles, but the fact is that your microbiome (mostly present within your gut) majorly impacts your ability to stay protected from illnesses of all sorts. How so?
By preventing shingles, the vaccine also drastically reduces the overall incidence of severe nerve pain, a lasting complication for about one in three people who get shingles. GlaxoSmithKline said it tested the vaccine in more than 38,000 people.
People who develop postherpetic neuralgia, or long-term pain after their shingles rash has healed, may be given antidepressants (amitriptyline, for example), anti-seizure drugs (such as gabapentin and pregabalin) and pain relief medicines, including opioid painkillers.
It’s estimated that more than 90 percent of adults in the U.S. carry VZV and are therefore at risk for the development of shingles. (2) As you get older, your risk goes up, since studies show that most people (over half) who develop shingles are over the age of 60. This is why adults 60 or older are often advised to get vaccinated against the shingles virus — although as you’ll learn, this isn’t always necessary and shingles natural treatment approaches (like using antiviral herbs) can also be effective for prevention.
Zostavax was licensed by the FDA in 2006. This vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles by 51% and PHN by 67%. It is given in one dose as a shot, and can be given in a doctor’s office or pharmacy.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” said Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and an expert in the disease. “Shingles is an unappreciated and common cause of severe problems throughout the nervous system.”
From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Because Leaky Gut is so common, and such an enigma, I’m offering a free webinar on all things leaky gut. Click here to learn more about the webinar.