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How do doctors treat a case of shingles?

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Quick Answer

Treatment for shingles involves the use of anti-viral medications, pain medicine, topical creams and antidepressants, according to WebMD. Treatment goals are to prevent complications and reduce the length of outbreaks.

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The initial treatment for shingles is the administration of viral medications, notes WebMD. Generally, the best results for a positive outcome occur when an anti-viral medication regimen commences within the first three days of the appearance of the shingles rash. This reduces the incidence of future problems, including postherpetic neuralgia. As of 2015, some of the most popular anti-viral shingles remedies include valacyclovir, famciclovir and acyclovir, all of which are useful in reducing the duration and pain of shingles outbreaks.

Pain medication purchased over the counter can reduce the pain of shingles, according to WebMD. Aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen are among the most popular. Topical antibiotic medication applied directly to the affected area stops infection caused by the blisters associated with shingles.

Shingles in its most severe form may require anti-viral medications along with corticosteroids, advises WebMD, although some studies suggest that the addition of corticosteroids is unnecessary. Persistent pain following a shingles outbreak may require the use of topical anesthetics, antidepressant medications and opioid pain medicine. Anti-convulsant medications may also be useful in a treatment regimen for ongoing shingles pain.

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