Most Effective Shingles Treatment

You'll know you need shingles treatment straight away if you've been having pain and a rash appears. "If you have pain, and then a rash, that's an important signal," says Dr. Karl Beutner MD, PhD. "There are very few other rashes that are actually painful." He adds that the rash forms on one side of the body in a band-like pattern, which is another identifying feature. To reduce the number of serious complications, you must start prescription antiviral drug treatment within 72 hours of noticing the spots, doctors say. Often the pain management drugs will also act to decrease the duration of the shingles, in addition to easing some of the pain.

Once a diagnosis has been made, you will begin your shingles medication treatment with antiviral medicine that targets the root cause of your symptoms. Doctors say you should begin your treatment within two days of noticing the shingles rash to decrease your risk of developing complications like post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is the chronic pain that persists for weeks, months or even years after the lesions heal. If the virus is not directly attacked, then it may actually damage nerve endings, which can be very difficult to treat. In fact, it's estimated that 40-50% of patients do not respond to treatment for PHN treatment at all.

Antiviral shingles treatment includes acyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir. Acyclovir, which is said to have ushered in a "new era of antiviral therapy," is also used to treat the herpes simplex virus, ocular herpes and Bell's palsy. It's commonly marketed under the following names: Cyclovir, Herpex, Acivir, Acivirax, Zovirax, Aciclovir and Zovir. Side effects for this drug may include nausea, vomiting, malaise, diarrhea and hallucinations. Famciclovir, marketed as Famvir, is used to treat genital herpes, cold sores and shingles. Side effects may include upset stomach, headache and a mild fever. Valacyclovir, marketed as Valtrex or Zilitrex, and is considered an effective treatment for all the herpes viruses, although nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches are possible.  

A third of the people undergoing Shingles treatment will develop postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Patients who develop this condition don't typically respond to conventional pain management treatments for shingles. They usually need harder drugs from the opioid family, including codeine, oxycodone or morphine patches. Topical anesthetics like lidocaine patches or topical creams containing capsaicin (the substance that makes chili spicy) can also provide pain relief. Tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsant medications have also been used to treat the serious excruciating pain of lingering shingles after-effects.

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Treatment Of Shingles
Varicella zoster is also sometimes called the "chickenpox virus." Once a person has the pox, a little bit of the viral coding is saved in the spinal cord and reactivates decades later when the immune system has been weakened through illness, chemotherapy, old age or other circumstances. Once it's reawakened, the virus travels horizontally across the body, down nerve pathways, and in a belt-like formation around one side of the abdomen, chest or eye.

Treatment For Shingles
Without treatment for shingles, many older patients develop postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is a severe, excruciating painful rash. Doctors estimate that 1 in 4 patients with shingles will develop this condition, even if they are treated quickly with antiviral medication. However, if they do not seek treatment right away at the sight of the rash, then the odds increase to 1 in 2.