Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Injury Litigation
Our attorneys at Pendley, Baudin & Coffin, L.L.P. have investigatede claims that the Zostavax shingles vaccine, manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Merck, can cause serious injuries or death.
Types of Injuries That Can Be Caused by Zostavax
There are two main types of injuries related to Zostavax: (1) infectious diseases (i.e. shingles) and (2) autoimmune diseases. These injuries can be broken down further into the following:
1. Infectious Diseases (shingles and related complications from shingles)
- Post Herpetic Neuralgia (incl. allodynia)
- Neurological Problems
- Facial Paralysis (Bell’s Palsy and Ramsay Hunt)
- Loss of Hearing (Ramsay Hunt)
- Balance Problems
- Cranial Nerve Palsies
- Acute Cardiovascular Events (dysfunction within blood vessels)
- Heart Attack (MI)
- Ischemic Stroke
- Cardiac Issues
- Exacerbation of CHF
- Vision Problems (vision loss, eye infections, retinal damage)
- Pneumonia (and other lung issues)
- Skin Infections (including bacterial superinfection)
2. Autoimmune Diseases
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- Transverse Myelitis (TM)
- Meningitis (aseptic)
- Facial Paralysis (Bell’s Palsy)
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
- Optic Neuritis
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
What is Zostavax?
Zostavax was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) in 2006.The vaccine is designed to reduce the risk of developing herpes zoster (“shingles”) for persons 50 years and older, who have a greater risk of developing the virus.
Zostavax differs from some vaccines in that it contains a live, weakened (or “live, attenuated”) form of the herpes zoster virus. As such, people with weakened immune systems cannot receive these types of vaccines.
For over a decade, Zostavax was the only FDA-approved shingles vaccine in the U.S. In 2016, Merck received nearly $750 million in sales from the vaccine.However, in October 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) began recommending a new shingles vaccine over Zostavax, called Shingrix.
According to studies, Shingrix is 98 percent effective against shingles for people between the ages of 50 and 69, and 91 percent effective against post-herpetic neuralgia for people 50 and older. By comparison, Zostavax is 51 percent effective against shingles and 67 percent effective against post-herpetic neuralgia.
What is Shingles?
According to the CDC, common symptoms of shingles include: blisters (which may last up to two to four weeks), rash, itching, tingling, fever, headache, chills, and upset stomach. Serious complications of shingles include loss of vision, pneumonia, hearing loss, brain inflammation, as well as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) and death.Patients with PHN suffer burning pain, throbbing, extreme sensitivity, itching, and numbness around the area of skin where the shingles outbreak initially occurred.