Medicines can help limit the pain and discomfort caused by shingles, shorten the time you have symptoms, and prevent the spread of the disease. Medicines also may reduce your chances of developing shingles complications, such as Reference postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) Opens New Window or disseminated zoster. Early treatment of shingles is important, because the possible complications can be serious and resistant to treatment. For example, 40 to 50 out of 100 people who have PHN do not respond to treatment.Reference 3
- Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, to help reduce pain.
- Reference Antiviral medicines, to reduce the pain and duration of shingles.
- Topical Reference antibiotics Opens New Window, which are applied directly to the skin, to stop infection of the blisters.
Medicines to treat postherpetic neuralgia pain may include:
- Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
- Reference Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline.
- Topical medicines, such as a lidocaine patch.
- Reference Anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin or pregabalin.
- Reference Corticosteroids Opens New Window, such as prednisone.
- Reference Nerve block injections.
- Reference Opioids, such as codeine, oxycodone, and morphine.
What to think about
For some people, nonprescription pain relievers (analgesics) are enough to help control pain caused by shingles or postherpetic neuralgia. But for others, stronger medicines may be needed. And if prescription medicines don't help control your pain, you may need to see a Reference pain specialist Opens New Window about other ways to treat PHN.
A prescription medicine called pregabalin (Lyrica) has been approved for the treatment of pain caused by postherpetic neuralgia. In tests, it provided rapid and long-lasting pain relief.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 5, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology