Shingles Vaccine Zostavax Side EffectsMarch 5, 2019
The single dose vaccine Zostavax was brought to the market by Merck in 2016. Soon after it was introduced, reports started to surface regarding problems with patients receiving the vaccine developing a more severe outbreak of shingles and other types of infections due to the “under-attenuated” live virus that’s contained in Zostavax.
Some patients who received Zostavax, developed Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome, which is a type of Bell’s Palsy, while other patients developed postherpetic neuralgia.
Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome is caused by the herpes zoster virus which is the same virus that can cause chickenpox and shingles.
Some of the most common symptoms of Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome include:
- A change of sensation in a portion of your face
- Ear area pain
- Impaired taste
- Your hearing may decrease or increase.
Postherpetic neuralgia generally will show up in the same area as the shingles and can cause a severe pain which can be off and on or constant. Although researchers continue to be puzzled as to why the pain of postherpetic neuralgia can continue, they believe it may be caused by continued inflammation or damage to the nerves after the shingles has disappeared. Some of the most common symptoms reported by patients who developed postherpetic neuralgia include, but aren’t limited to:
- Severe pain that lasts one to three months.
- Burning sensation on skin
- Touch or temperature sensitivity
One study showed that age was a factor in the development of postherpetic neuralgia. In people who are less than 60 years old, only 1 in 50 developed postherpetic neuralgia. The risk increases for people over 60. Additionally, white Americans contract postherpetic neuralgia at more than twice the rate as African Americans.
Common Side Effects of Zostavax
Until 2017, Zostavax was the only available shingles vaccine in the United States. Some of the most common side effects reported by patients who received the vaccine include:
- Developing chickenpox
- Pain in their joints
- Muscle pain
- Injection site rashes
- Swollen glands
Some serious side effects could include:
- Postherpetic neuralgia
- Allergic reactions
- Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome
- Autoimmune disorders
- Congestive heart failure
- Bell’s Palsy
The number of lawsuits filed against Merck regarding the shingles vaccine Zostavax is growing by the day. One thing they all have in common, however, is that they are all claiming that Zostavax contains a live strain of the varicella zoster virus that wasn’t sufficiently weakened to prevent it from reactivating. What this means is that instead of your body being able to develop the proper immune response, the live virus contain in Zostavax is combining with the old virus.
In lieu of the similar questions of fact and law being raised in the Zostavax lawsuits filed in Federal Court, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation chose to centralize the cases involving Zostavax. These Zostavax lawsuit cases are now being heard by U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle, III in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
If Merck doesn’t reach a settlement in the cases in involving Zostavax, or resolve the lawsuits, every individual case may be remanded back to the original U.S. District Court where they were filed for the respective trials.
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