FDA reports pros, cons of experimental shingles vaccine

January 3, 2006

Washington -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported recently that Zostavax, Merck & Co.?s experimental vaccine to prevent shingles, does help curb related pain but does not significantly affect rates of death or hospitalization, U.S. regulatory staff said in documents released recently.

Washington -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported recently that Zostavax, Merck & Co.’s experimental vaccine to prevent shingles, does help curb related pain but does not significantly affect rates of death or hospitalization, U.S. regulatory staff said in documents released recently.

The finding was based on Merck data.

Studies also showed the vaccine is less effective after three years but showed no “particular pattern” of serious side effects.

The findings were issued before a meeting of outside health experts to discuss the product and whether it will be recommended for FDA approval.

Shingles is said to be more prevalent among older people, and in its review the FDA noted that age was a factor in how well the vaccine worked, reporting that it was less effective in people 70 and older.

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