Initial treatment for shingles, which can affect the face or the body, involves antiviral medications that relieve pain and shorten the duration of shingles, according to WebMD. Doctors may also recommend topical antibiotics to prevent blisters from becoming infected.
It is crucial to start treatment for shingles within the first three days of seeing the rash to lower the risk of complications, notes WebMD. Valacyclovir, famciclovir and acyclovir are antiviral medicines for shingles, while ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen are over-the-counter medicines for pain relief.
Postherpetic neuralgia, a possible complication of shingles, causes pain that lasts for months or years after the shingles rash has healed, explains WebMD. To relieve the pain, doctors prescribe antidepressant medications, opioids or anticonvulsant medicines. Topical anesthetics containing benzocaine offer pain relief through direct application of the cream on the skin. Doctors may also recommend prescription Lidocaine patches. With proper treatment, postherpetic neuralgia typically resolves within a year.
Antiviral medications and antibiotics are necessary for individuals who suffer disseminated zoster, a rash characterized by blisters on a large area of the body, states WebMD. This complication can affect the joints, liver, lungs, heart and other body parts. For people who suffer herpes zoster ophthalmicus, which is a facial rash that can impair sight, an ophthalmologist may suggest antiviral medicines, cool compresses and ample rest.