In most cases, herpes zoster is self-limited and will resolve without treatment. Treatment is of most benefit in older populations (age over 50) and in those with a poorly functioning immune system.
Treatment for herpes zoster may include oral antihistamines, antiviral medications, narcotic pain medications, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Some may be treated with corticosteroids.
Treatment for Herpes zoster may include:
- Oral antihistamines for itching:
- Anti-viral medication for varicella zoster:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
- Topical pain medications:
- Narcotic pain medication:
- Medications for post herpetic neuralgia:
- Varicella zoster vaccine: (Zostavax)
- May reduce occurrence of shingles in individuals who are over 50 years of age by over 65%.
- Slightly reduces pain in those who do develop shingles
Shingles Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of Herpes zoster.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- For how long?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for complications?
- How do I avoid passing the infection to others?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Continue to Shingles Home Care
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- Feder HM Jr, Hoss DM. Herpes zoster in otherwise healthy children. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2004 May;23(5):451-7; quiz 458-60. 
- Johnson RW. Herpes zoster in the immunocompetent patient: management of post-herpetic neuralgia. Herpes. 2003 Aug;10(2):38-45. 
- Liesegang TJ. Herpes zoster virus infection. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2004 Dec;15(6):531-6. 
- Pugh RN, Omar RI, Hossain MM. Varicella infection and pneumonia among adults. Int J Infect Dis. 1998 Apr-Jun;2(4):205-10.