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Shingles Clinical Research

shingles_clinical_researchThe pain caused by shingles can make extremely debilitating. For people who are at high risk for this viral infection usually have one question: Can it be prevented? This is one of the main reasons we conduct shingles clinical research at Accord Clinical Research.

Shingles clinical research trials help improve our understanding of how this disorder develops and lead to better treatments and methods of prevention. The shingles clinical trials our clinic conducts have two primary goals:

  1. Develop more effective drugs that can better treat shingles symptoms and even prevent future complications.
  2. Gain a better understanding of the disease that could lead to better prevention strategies for people who are at high risk.

Our researchers can’t achieve these goals without a more in depth understanding of the varicella zoster virus and it’s full range of effects.

What Causes a Shingles Outbreak?

Shingles is a disease caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus responsible for chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox is infected with the shingles virus, which will lie dormant for years before it may reactivate and manifest as a painful skin rash.

Older adults and those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to shingles, which can be brought on by injury, stress, certain medications, or other factors. The onset of shingles is quite common: it is estimated that 1 in 3 people in the United States will exhibit symptoms at some point in their lifetime.

Generally, those who have developed shingles will not develop it more than once.

Should You Get the Shingles Vaccine?

Shingles may be passed on to those who have not received a vaccination. Contact with open blisters and skin sores can put one at risk for infection. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that adults 60 years and over get the shingles vaccine, even if they have previously experienced shingles, to prevent possible occurrence. The vaccine may also reduce pain and healing time if the shingles virus activates.

The varicella zoster virus, also called the herpes zoster virus, causes chickenpox and potentially shingles. The “sleeping” virus may wake up again in adulthood. A variety of factors can influence this, including aging, stress, or illness.

Different Stages of the Shingles Virus

Once active, the shingles symptoms will present themselves in stages:

  • Stage 1: Early signs include headaches and light sensitivity, or flu-like feelings without any fever.
  • Stage 2: Painful itching and irritation will develop on certain areas of the body.
  • Stage 3: In a few days, the area will turn into a rash, which will eventually blister and crust over. The blisters will heal in 2-4 weeks. It is imperative that they are not itched or disturbed to prevent excessive scarring.

The physical symptoms of shingles greatly resemble chickenpox, but are contained to one area and do not cover the entire body. Shingles may be treated with medicines such as antiviral or pain medicines.

These medicines must be prescribed a medical professional and can help if taken at the onset of activation, so if you feel any symptoms speak to your doctor immediately. Proper care of skin sores and open blisters will also aid in the recovery from shingles.

Fast Facts about Shingles:

  • Caused by the same virus as chickenpox
  • Risk increases as you age, or from stress, illness, and some medications
  • Common symptoms include skin sensitivity and irritation, followed by rashes that eventually blister and excrete fluid
  • Adults who never had chickenpox can still be infected by the varicella zoster virus and develop shingles later in life
  • Vaccination can help prevent activation or lessen the intensity of the symptoms
  • Shingles is treated with medications and proper care as prescribed by a medical professional

The shingles virus occupies and travels along the nervous system, causing skin sensitivity and pain. After activation and before presenting itself outwardly on the skin, shingles may affect the nerves through burning and tingling sensations.

The intensity of shingles pain varies, and may cause dizziness or weakness in some people. For some, the pain associated with the disease continues long after the skin has cleared. This is known as postherpetic neuralgia, and is a result of confused messages sent by damaged nerve fibers.

Complications from Shingles

Possible complications of shingles:

  • Skin infections from mistreated blisters.
  • Neurological disorders such as facial paralysis, encephalitis, or balance distortion.
  • Vision loss if shingles presents in or around the eye.

Shingles Clinical Trials in Port Orange, Florida

Our research team is conducting shingles clinical research in Port Orange and looking to enroll participants with shingles. Want to know what to expect from our shingles clinical trials? Be sure to check out our study participant resource section—  it contains plenty of helpful information for newcomers.

Doctor discusses shingles clinical trials with her patient

There is a screening process for each clinical trial, but you’ll learn about that if you fill out the online form in the top right corner of the page. Participants will gain access to premium healthcare during their study and can earn compensation for time and travel.

If you aren’t at risk for shingles, but would like to participate in a clinical trial, then please take a look at some of the other conditions we are enrolling for. Interested in helping us advance modern medicine? Please call us today at (386) 760-7272.