Recombinant zoster vaccine (RVZ, Shingrix, GlaxoSmithKline), the FDA-approved 2-dose series RVZ for adults 50 years and older, has proven to be highly effective in the prevention of shingles (herpes zoster). According to the CDC, 2 doses of RVZ provides more than 90% protection against shingles and its most common complication, postherpetic neuralgia.1
To ensure maximum protection, it is critical that both doses be administered within a 6-month period, even if the patient experiences adverse effects after the first dose. New research from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Michigan indicates that a simple phone call to remind patients to come in for their second dose can be helpful.2
The study, which was presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Nexus annual meeting in late 2019, involved pharmacy interns calling more than 1000 BCBS members who had received their initial dose of RVZ with a reminder that the second dose was coming due. Ninety-two percent of the patients who spoke directly with the intern received the second dose, compared with 87% of those who had no contact.2
After reviewing the timing of the dose, the researchers concluded that patients who completed the call were significantly more likely to get the second shot within the recommended 60 to 180 days.2
Community pharmacist Stephen Giroux, RPh of Middleport, New York told Drug Topics® that he has a system in place to encourage patients to get their second dose.
“As part of our expanded pharmacy services, we always call our patients or send a reminder of their choice— text or email—for the second Shingrix dose,” explained the NCPA past president. “We are committed to patient adherence and compliance, so we have a reminder system that everyone gets placed in to assure that they don’t miss the second dose.”
Giroux continued that the reminder calls have been shown to dramatically increase the second dose compliance. “We further ask them, with a flag prompt, when they come in for any other prescription to remember their second dose. We have so many more touch points to accomplish this as accessible health care providers.”
GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Shingrix, offers individuals a sign up option on its website for voice, email, and text reminders so they don’t miss their second dose
1. New Shingles Vaccine Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers. CDC; Last reviewed July 1, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/multimedia/shingles-factsheet-hcp.html.
2. Alzouby H, Vandecar S, Stievater T, Kaddis A, Tungol Lin A. Impact of Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccine) second dose reminder member calls by a commercial health plan [Abstract Z1]. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Presented at Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Nexus Annual Meeting. October 28-November 1, 2019. National Harbor, Maryland.