Shingles - Medications
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
complications, such as
postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) 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.3
Medicines to treat shingles when the
rash is present (active stage) may include:
Medicines to treat postherpetic neuralgia pain may include:
- Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as
acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline.
- Topical medicines, such as a lidocaine patch.
such as gabapentin or pregabalin.
such as prednisone.
Nerve block injections.
Opioids, such as codeine, oxycodone,
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 pain specialist 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.