New research in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases highlights the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) and its significant burden of disease among elderly patients over time.
The longitudinal, prospective study evaluated 413 patients aged ≥50 years of age who received a new clinical diagnosis of herpes zoster (HZ) between March 2009 to July 2010.
More than 60% of these patients had one or more chronic conditions, with the number of conditions increasing with age.
Overall, 89.6% of all patients reported HZ-associated pain at the initial visit; while 91.5% of patients received an oral antiviral for a median duration of 6.0 days, only 23% of patients received pain therapy (mean duration of 12.5 days). Approximately 20% of patients reported PHN after three months, with the percentage increasing with age (14.3% of ages 50–59, 20.2% of ages 60–69, and 24.5% of ages ≥70 years).
After six months, 9.2% of patients reported continued incidence of PHN. These findings confirm previous estimates of PHN among elderly patients and emphasize the importance of routine immunization, which the CDC recommends for ≥60 years of age.
Background: Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is the most common complication in herpes zoster (HZ) patients. Methods: We performed a longitudinal, prospective study in 108 general practices throughout Italy to assess how many immunocompetent patients aged 50 years with newly diagnosed HZ develop HZ-associated pain, its duration and management over 6-months.