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What other prescriptions can treat shingles?

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If you have severe pain after the rash clears or an infection during your shingles outbreak, your doctor might prescribe:

  • Capsaicin cream: This can burm, so be careful not to get it in your eyes.
  • A numbing medicine: You might get lidocaine (Lidoderm, Xylocaine) for pain. It can come in a variety of forms, such as creams, lotions, patches, powders, and sprays, among others.
  • Antibiotics: You might need these medicines if bacteria infect your skin and rashes -- but if bacteria aren’t involved, then antibiotics won’t help.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: There are many of these medications that might help ease the pain that lingers after your skin has healed, such as amitriptyline, desipramine (Norpramin), and nortriptyline (Pamelor). They may also help you with depression, if you have that in addition to shingles. Your doctor can tell you what the risks and benefits are.

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke: "Shingles. Seek Early Treatment."

Mayo Clinic Health Letter, June 2002.

Oxman M.   2005. New England Journal of Medicine,

Douglas M.  , 2004. Drug Safety

WebMD Health News: "Shingles Vaccine to Be Routine at 60."

FDA: "FDA Licenses New Vaccine to Reduce Older Americans' Risk of Shingles."

Vaccines.Gov: “Shingles (Herpes Zoster).”

CDC: “What Everyone Should Know About Shingles Vaccine.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on September 16, 2020

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke: "Shingles. Seek Early Treatment."

Mayo Clinic Health Letter, June 2002.

Oxman M.   2005. New England Journal of Medicine,

Douglas M.  , 2004. Drug Safety

WebMD Health News: "Shingles Vaccine to Be Routine at 60."

FDA: "FDA Licenses New Vaccine to Reduce Older Americans' Risk of Shingles."

Vaccines.Gov: “Shingles (Herpes Zoster).”

CDC: “What Everyone Should Know About Shingles Vaccine.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on September 16, 2020

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