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Epidemiology and cost of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia in the United Kingdom

  • A. GAUTHIER (a1), J. BREUER (a2), D. CARRINGTON (a3), M. MARTIN (a1) and V. RÉMY (a4)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 09 May 2008

Recent information on epidemiology and management of herpes zoster (HZ) and post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a painful complication of HZ, is scarce. The objective of this study was to document the burden of HZ and PHN in the United Kingdom. This retrospective analysis of the UK General Practice Research Database aimed to estimate HZ incidence and proportion of HZ patients developing PHN and to assess management costs in immunocompetent individuals aged ⩾50 years. A cohort of 27 225 HZ patients was selected, corresponding to an incidence of 5·23/1000 person-years. Respectively 19·5% and 13·7% of patients developed PHN at least 1 and 3 months after HZ diagnosis. Mean direct cost was £103 per HZ patient and £341 and £397 per PHN episode (1- and 3-month definition respectively). Both HZ and PHN costs increased markedly with pain severity. This study confirms that HZ and PHN are frequent and costly diseases in the United Kingdom.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: A. Gauthier, i3 Innovus, 3rd floor, Beaufort House, Cricket Field Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1QG, UK. Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
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