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Z Gesundh Wiss. 2010 Aug;18(4):367-374. Epub 2010 Mar 21.

Impact of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia on patients' quality of life: a patient-reported outcomes survey.



The impact of herpes zoster (HZ) and post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) on patients' quality of life (QoL) is currently poorly documented.


Telephone interviews in Germany identified patients ≥50 years old with painful HZ diagnosed during the previous 5 years. Bespoke questions evaluated previous HZ episodes.


Of 11,009 respondents, 280 met the screening criteria, and 32 (11%) developed PHN. PHN was associated with significantly worse outcomes than HZ (all P < 0.05). Mean pain scores associated with PHN and HZ, respectively, were 7.1 and 6.2 (average) and 8.2 and 7.0 (worst). Many patients with PHN (91%) and HZ (73%) experienced problems with daily activities, including work, studies, housework, family and leisure activities. Mean pain interference scores in patients with PHN versus HZ were highest for sleep (6.5 versus 4.9), normal work (6.1 versus 4.4) and mood (5.9 versus 4.4). Most employed interviewees with PHN (70%) and HZ (64%) stopped work during the disease. Pain and QoL outcomes were not significantly different between all patients versus those diagnosed during the previous 12 months or between patients aged 50-59 years versus ≥60 years.


HZ causes substantial pain, which seriously interferes with many aspects of daily life, particularly in patients with PHN.

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