Shingles Treatment

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

The pain of shingles can be severe and sometimes even occurs when no rash is present. Postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of shingles, occurs when your nerve pain persists after your rash has disappeared. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options to help reduce your pain.

Antiviral medications for Shingles

Antiviral medications are prescription drugs that can reduce the length and severity of your outbreak if they are given early enough. Examples of these drugs include acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and famciclovir (Famvir). It has been shown that antiviral medications can help prevent the development of postherpetic neuralgia and reduce its duration if it does occur.

Other treatments for shingles

Medications for pain relief may be required. These may be either over the counter or prescription drugs, depending on the severity of the pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may help some people, while others may require narcotic pain medications. Nonmedical treatments for shingles and home remedies include the use of cool compresses to relieve pain and anti-itching lotions like calamine lotion. Aluminum acetate solutions can help dry up the blisters. Additionally, different medications have been used to control the pain of postherpetic neuralgia, including tricyclic antidepressants and antiseizure medications. Topical agents that can help relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia include capsaicin cream and lidocaine patches.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease

REFERENCE:

Janniger, Camila K. "Herpes Zoster Treatment and Management." Medscape.com. Feb. 26, 2013. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1132465-treatment>.

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Reviewed on 1/27/2017 12:00:00 AM