Infections

Shingles

(Herpes zoster)

About Shingles

Shingles is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus - the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus stays in your body. It may not cause problems for many years. As you get older, the virus may reappear as shingles. Although it is most common in people over age 50, anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk.You can't catch shingles from someone who has it. However, if you have a shingles rash, you can pass the virus to someone who has never had chickenpox. This would usually be a child, who could get chickenpox instead of shingles. The virus spreads through direct contact with the rash, and cannot spread through the air.Early signs of shingles include burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching, usually on one side of the body or face. The pain can be mild to severe. Rashes or blisters appear anywhere from one to 14 days later. If shingles appears on your face, it may affect your vision or hearing. The pain of shingles may last for weeks, months, or even years after the blisters have healed. There is no cure for shingles. Early treatment with medicines that fight the virus may help. These medicines may also help prevent lingering pain.A vaccine may prevent shingles or lessen its effects. The vaccine is recommended for people 60 or over. In some cases doctors may give it to people ages 50 to 59.NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Symptoms of Shingles
  • Burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching usually on once side of the body or face
  • Rash or blisters

All Medications for Shingles

  • Horizant
    (Gabapentin Enacarbil)
    Prescription only

    Horizant (Gabapentin Enacarbil) is a good way to treat pain since it can be used with other pain medications and it's not addictive. You'll need to stop drinking alcohol and it can be somewhat expensive.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Lidoderm
    (lidocaine)

    Lidoderm (lidocaine) works well to treat nerve pain that is localized to a small area, but its topical application may cause minor skin irritation.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Cream
    • Gel
    • Ointment
    • Jelly
    • Spray
    • Patch
    • Lotion
    • Topical solution
  • Neurontin
    (gabapentin)
    Prescription only

    Neurontin (gabapentin) is an old seizure disorder medicine that is now used to treat nerve-related pain caused by different conditions.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Oral solution
    • Extended release
  • Varivax
    (Varicella Vaccine)
    Prescription only

    Varivax (Varicella Vaccine) is a safe and effective vaccine for the chickenpox.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Injection
  • Zovirax
    (Acyclovir)
    Prescription only

    Zovirax (Acyclovir) is good for treating viral infections like herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll shorten the length of a breakout.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Oral suspension
    • Dissolving tablet extended release
    • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Valtrex
    (Valacyclovir)
    Prescription only

    Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is a first choice treatment for herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll control the signs and symptoms of an outbreak.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Zovirax
    (Acyclovir)
    Prescription only

    Zovirax (Acyclovir) is good for treating viral infections like herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll shorten the length of a breakout.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Oral suspension
    • Dissolving tablet extended release
    • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Valtrex
    (Valacyclovir)
    Prescription only

    Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is a first choice treatment for herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll control the signs and symptoms of an outbreak.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Zovirax
    (Acyclovir)
    Prescription only

    Zovirax (Acyclovir) is good for treating viral infections like herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll shorten the length of a breakout.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Oral suspension
    • Dissolving tablet extended release
    • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Valtrex
    (Valacyclovir)
    Prescription only

    Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is a first choice treatment for herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll control the signs and symptoms of an outbreak.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill

Tips, success stories, and coping strategies for Shingles

What tip would you give someone like me who was just diagnosed?

No tips yet for this condition, leave a tip!

What’s your best coping strategy?

No tips yet for this condition, leave a tip!

Besides medications, what else has worked for you?

No tips yet for this condition, leave a tip!