Postherpetic Neuralgia - Treatment

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What treatment was effective for your postherpetic neuralgia?

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How is PHN treated?

Treatment is individualized for each patient; there is no treatment that is effective for all PHN patients, so clinicians often use two or more of the drug categories with examples listed below:

  • Lidocaine skin patches ([Lidoderm] small, bandage-like patches applied to painful areas)
  • Capsaicin skin patches ([Capsagel, Salonpas] applied in a doctor's office by trained staff)
  • Opioids (tramadol [Ultram], oxycodone [OxyContin], morphine)
  • Anticonvulsants (pregabalin [Lyrica], gabapentin [Neurontin]) have been shown to lessen the pain of PHN probably by stabilizing abnormal electrical activity in your nervous system.
  • Antidepressants (venlafaxine [Effexor], duloxetine [Cymbalta]) are often prescribed in lower doses than for depression.

Because some drugs (opioids) can be addictive and because some patients may need long-term treatments (over one year), consultation with a pain-management specialist may be advised. Some individuals claim tamanu oil rubbed into the affected may reduce the symptoms of PHN. One small study and a few case reports indicate that acupuncture can be helpful in relieving the pain of PHN. Infrequently, other methods are used. TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) devices are designed to interrupt the body's pain sensations while nerve blocks (short-term chemical nerve sensation blockade) and nerve ablation (surgically cutting a nerve) are also used. Results vary but the methods often do not give lasting pain relief.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Jabez, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 20

I have had postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) for over 7 years. I"ve tried most pain treatments but I"m at the end of my rope. So I"m going through the process of having a spinal cord stimulator implant. I"ve had 2 epidurals, quite painful, but hopeful this treatment might work in some degree.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: psoriasis, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 03

I had shingles that developed into neuralgia. I am taking Lyrica with Panadeine at night. This is only masking the pain, but helps me sleep.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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