What are the most effective treatment options for shingles?


Quick Answer

The most effective treatment options for shingles are acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir, all of which are prescription antiviral drugs, according to Mayo Clinic. Although there is no cure for shingles as of 2016, taking medications early may reduce the risk of complications and hasten the healing process.

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Full Answer

To alleviate the pain associated with shingles, a health care provider may prescribe capsaicin cream, anticonvulsants or tricyclic depressants, notes Mayo Clinic. The doctor may also prescribe creams, gels, sprays or skin patches to numb the affected area. Other pain relief options include narcotic medications or an injection that contains corticosteroids and local anesthetics.

It may be possible to relieve itching and pain associated with shingles by applying a cool, wet compress to the blisters or by taking a cool bath, suggests Mayo Clinic. It is important to care for the blisters and keep them clean. Taking steps to eliminate stress may also help treat shingles.

There is a shingles vaccine available, reports WebMD. Getting vaccinated reduces the chances of contracting the condition, helps it to clear up faster, reduces the pain and prevents the long-term pain that may follow shingles. People who have weak immune systems or who are 50 years of age or older have a higher risk of getting shingles, but it is possible for anyone who has had chicken pox to get the rash.

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