Shingles Prevention Study (SPS)

This study has been completed.
Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development Identifier:
First received: December 29, 2000
Last updated: July 2, 2013
Last verified: July 2013

The incidence and severity of HZ (or shingles), as well as the frequency and severity of its complications, increases markedly with increasing age. More than half of all cases occur in persons over the age of 60. Even without complications, HZ can interfere with an elderly patient's ability to perform essential activities of daily living, resulting in a loss of independence that is emotionally devastating and frequently irreversible. The most common complication of HZ in elderly persons is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which frequently results in disordered sleep, chronic fatigue, anxiety and severe depression. Antiviral therapy has a modest impact on the acute phase of HZ. However, it does not appear to prevent the development of PHN.

This study is a 5.5 year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, efficacy trial to determine whether vaccination with live-attenuated Oka/Merck varicella-zoster decreases the incidence and/or severity of herpes zoster (HZ) and its complications in adults 60 years of age and older.

Condition Intervention Phase
Herpes Zoster
Postherpetic Neuralgia
Biological: Varicella-zoster vaccine
Biological: Placebo
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: CSP #403 - Trial of Varicella Zoster Vaccine for the Prevention of Herpes Zoster and Its Complications

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Reduce burden of illness due to herpes zoster (HZ) [ Time Frame: Incidence of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), where PHN is defined as HZ-associated pain greater than or equal to 3 persisting or appearing more than 30 days after the onset of the HZ rash ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Enrollment: 38456
Study Start Date: November 1998
Study Completion Date: February 2011
Primary Completion Date: April 2004 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Arm 1
varicella-zoster vaccine
Biological: Varicella-zoster vaccine
Immunization with 0.5 ml, live, attenuated (Oka/Merck) varicella-zoster vaccine.
Placebo Comparator: Arm 2
vaccine placebo
Biological: Placebo
Placebo vaccine

  Show Detailed Description


Ages Eligible for Study:   60 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Adults 60 years of age and older.
  • History of Chickenpox.
  • Have given written informed consent prior to enrollment.
  • History of varicella or long-term (greater than or equal to 30 years) residence in the continental USA.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • No history of shingles, no current history of immune suppression (e.g. malignancy or neoplastic disease, corticosteroid therapy).
  • No immunosuppression resulting from disease (e.g., malignancy; HIV infection), corticosteroids (except intermittent topical or inhaled corticosteroid [greater than 800 mcg/day beclomethasone dipropionate or equivalent]), or other immunosuppressive/cytotoxic therapy (cancer chemotherapy or organ transplantation).
  • No active neoplastic disease (except local skin cancer or other malignancies [e.g., prostate cancer] that are stable in the absence of immunosuppressive/cytotoxic therapy).
  • No prior Herpes Zoster.
  • No prior receipt of varicella vaccine.
  • No allergic sensitivity to neomycin.
  • No history of anaphylactoid reaction to gelatin.
  • No significant underlying illness that would be expected to prevent completion of the study (e.g., life-threatening disease likely to limit survival to less than 5 years).
  • Not ambulatory (must not be bed-ridden or homebound).
  • No receipt of immune globulin or any other blood product within 3 months before or planned during the 3-5 year study period.
  • No receipt of any other immunizations within one month before study vaccination (2 weeks in the case of inactivated influenza vaccines or other non-replicating immunization products [e.g., dT, pneumococcal vaccine, hepatitis A vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine]), or scheduled within 6 weeks after study vaccination.
  • Not currently receiving antiviral therapy.
  • No other condition (e.g., extensive psoriasis, chronic pain syndrome, cognitive impairment, severe hearing loss) that, in the opinion of the investigator, might interfere with the evaluations required by the study.
  • No intercurrent illness (e.g., urinary tract infection, influenza) that might interfere with the interpretation of the study.
  • No females who are pre-menopausal.
  • No subjects unlikely to adhere to protocol follow-up.
  • No subjects involved in a conflicting (vaccine or investigational drug) clinical trial.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00007501

  Show 22 Study Locations
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Study Chair: Michael N. Oxman VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego
  More Information

Additional Information:

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT00007501     History of Changes
Obsolete Identifiers: NCT00023257, NCT00001907, NCT00006065, NCT00006069
Other Study ID Numbers: 403
Study First Received: December 29, 2000
Last Updated: July 2, 2013
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government
United States: Food and Drug Administration

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
varicella-zoster vaccine

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Herpes Zoster
Neuralgia, Postherpetic
DNA Virus Infections
Herpesviridae Infections
Nervous System Diseases
Neurologic Manifestations
Neuromuscular Diseases
Peripheral Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms
Virus Diseases processed this record on November 30, 2015