In cases of healthy individuals who undergo treatment shortly after blisters first appear, symptoms of shingles may subside in three to five weeks, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Antiviral medications can reduce the severity of symptoms and the duration of a bout with shingles.
The medications available to shingles sufferers include famcyclovir, acyclovir and valcyclovir, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms can persist for months or years in cases where the patient does not receive immediate treatment or the patient is over 60 years of age, states WebMD. Untreated shingles can result in permanent nerve damage.