What is zoster vaccine live (ZVL) (Zostavax)?

Updated: May 18, 2020
  • Author: Richard Lichenstein, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Zoster vaccine live (Zostavax)

  • Used for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) in patients ≥60 years (ACIP guidelines); not used for the treatment of herpes zoster

  • Administer 0.65 mL (entire vial contents) SC in the deltoid region of the upper arm

Note: In March 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lowered the approved age for use of Zostavax to 50-59y. Zostavax was already approved for use in individuals aged 60 years or older. [3]

Approval was based on a multicenter study, the Zostavax Efficacy and Safety Trial (ZEST). [3] The trial was conducted in the United States and 4 other countries in 22,439 people aged 50-59y. Participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive either Zostavax or placebo. Participants were monitored for at least 1y to see if shingles developed. Compared with placebo, Zostavax significantly reduced the risk of developing zoster by approximately 70%.

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