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JAMA Patient Page
July 24/31, 2018

Shingles Vaccination

JAMA. 2018;320(4):416. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7263

Shingles vaccination is effective for preventing shingles and complications of shingles.

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a condition characterized by a painful, sometimes blistering rash over a limited part of the body. It can occur in people who have had chickenpox in the past. When someone recovers from chickenpox, the virus that caused it remains inactive inside the body. Sometimes the virus remains inactive forever, but other times it can become reactivated, resulting in shingles. Most people with shingles recover fully, but it can cause lingering pain even after the rash has resolved. This chronic pain condition is called postherpetic neuralgia and it can have a major effect on quality of life. The older a person is when he or she gets shingles, the more likely postherpetic neuralgia will develop. Shingles can be treated with pain medications as well as antiviral medications in some cases. Shingles and postherpetic neuralgia can be prevented by vaccination.

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