Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

How Can I Treat Post-Shingles Pain?

Tuesday, 09 March 2010 11:22 AM

Question: I am just getting over shingles and now I have postherpetic neuralgia, which is driving me crazy. Is there anything I can do?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Shingles is the reactivation of dormant chickenpox virus. The virus migrates to the skin, where it causes an intense, painful, blistering rash. After the skin reaction is clear, the pain may persist as neuralgia. Vaccination may minimize or even prevent recurrence. The vaccine (Zostavax) has FDA approval for those older than 60.

Aggressive early treatment of shingles may minimize the neuralgia, which may be severe and can last from weeks to months. Typically, anti-inflammatory, selected anti-seizure, and some low-dose antidepressant medications are used to reduce nerve pain.

Pain management occasionally may involve supervised management with blocks and suitable narcotic medications under physician supervision and direction.

© HealthDay

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