Herpes zoster, or shingles, is treated with antiviral drugs, including acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They lessen pain and shorten the duration of the disease. The medication should be started within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms, states MedlinePlus.
To limit the itching of shingles, doctors often recommend oral or topical antihistamines, MedlinePlus explains. Wet compresses and calamine lotion reduce itching, notes the CDC. Colloidal oatmeal is put into soothing baths as well.
Pain medications, such as Zostrix cream, are sometimes used, MedlinePlus explains. Capsaicin, which comes from pepper, is an essential ingredient. This substance reduces pain signals to the brain, reports WebMD.