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Drug Name: Zostavax
Generic Name(s): zoster vaccine live
Drug Class: Vaccinations
Treats: Shingles

Zostavax (zoster vaccine live) is a vaccine used as a prophylaxis against the development of shingles - a condition caused by the herpes zoster virus. Patients older than 50 are more likely to catch the infection. Zostavax embeds a live version of the virus into the body, such that the body can adapt to the infection and arm the immune system to prevent it next time round.

Zostavax is a vaccine used as a prophylactic against shingles. The vaccine is only available for patients aged 50 years and above. Zostavax prevents these patients from developing shingles, a condition caused by the herpes zoster (varicella) virus. This is the same virus that causes chicken pox in children. The virus remains latent in the body and, when it emerges in adults, it causes shingles.

Zostavax works by exposing the body to a small amount of live virus. This helps the body to build immunity against the virus such that, if the body is attacked by the virus again, the body is fully equipped to deal with the virus before it causes shingles. Zostavax may not be used in patients with an active shingles infection.