Q:

What is the treatment for chronic shingles?

A:

Quick Answer

Because there is no cure for chronic shingles, doctors can only treat the symptoms with antiviral drugs and other medications, says the Mayo Clinic. These medications help to speed healing after flare-ups and control the pain associated with the condition.

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Full Answer

The medications used to reduce complications from shingles include acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because of the intense pain associated with the disease, doctors treat patients with anticonvulsants and antidepressants. Narcotics, local anesthetics and corticosteroid injections can also help to reduce pain. Some topical ointments are lidocaine in gel form and capsaicin cream. During flare-ups, patients can help to relieve itching and pain from blisters by taking cold baths or using wet compresses.

Shingles is a painful, itchy rash caused by the chickenpox virus, explains the Mayo Clinic. Individuals can contract the virus and not show symptoms for years. Getting vaccinated for the varicella or varicella-zoster virus can help prevent shingles fare-ups. Although children already receive this vaccine, adults who never contracted chickenpox need to get vaccinated for it as well. Even if an individual does develop shingles, the vaccine can help to reduce the severity of flare-ups and related complications, such as vision loss, skin infections, postherpetic neuraliga or nerve pain and other neurological problems.

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