Thursday, July 11, 2024

What Medication Is Used For Shingles

Can Shingles Be Prevented

New treatment for the pain of shingles

There are 2 vaccines available to reduce the likelihood of developing shingles, Zostavax and Shingrix. If you are over 50, you can talk to your doctor about whether you need it. It is recommended for everyone over 60 and is given free of charge in Australia to people aged 70 to 79.

Vaccination will not guarantee that you will not get shingles, but it will reduce your chance of developing the condition. The vaccine used to protect against shingles is not the same as the vaccine used to protect against chickenpox. Read more about the chickenpox vaccine here.

Study Assesses Relief Options Against Shingles Pain

  • Study Assesses Relief Options Against Shingles Pain

The painkiller oxycodone is effective at treating the acute pain of shingles, an illness that often causes severe pain which can become long-lasting and sometimes even permanent.

The study, published in the April issue of the journal Pain, is one of the first to carefully evaluate different methods to relieve pain during a course of shingles, which many patients say causes the worst pain they have ever experienced. Effective pain treatment is crucial. Not only can the pain of shingles disrupt peoples quality of life, but it is also possible that the less effectively the pain is treated, the more likely it will become a long-term problem that can change a persons life forever.

Shingles is caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same bug that causes chicken pox, and only people who have had chicken pox are vulnerable to shingles. About 20 to 30 percent of people will get shingles at some point in their lives the odds climb to 50 percent for people who live to the age of 85.

For most patients, the first symptom of the infection is pain, quickly followed by a rash where the pain first appeared. The rash appears most often on one side of the chest or face, oftentimes causing dozens of small pimple-sized lesions. Some patients also get flu-like symptoms like a headache and lethargy. The illness usually lasts about three or four weeks.

Can Shingles Be Prevented Or Avoided

The best way to prevent shingles is through vaccination. Vaccinate your children for chickenpox. This vaccine reduces their risk for getting chickenpox. You cant get shingles unless youve had chickenpox first.

When you are older, get the shingles vaccine. It is recommended for adults 50 years of age and older. It can prevent shingles. People who have had shingles should get the vaccine to help stop the disease from reoccurring. Common side effects of the vaccine are headache, plus redness, swelling, itching, and soreness at the injection site.

The shingles vaccine is not recommended for anyone who:

  • Has had an allergic reaction to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin
  • Has an allergy to any component of the shingles vaccine
  • Has a weakened immune system due to conditions such as leukemia, HIV, or AIDS
  • Is receiving treatment for cancer
  • Is being treated with drugs that suppress their immune system, including high-dose steroids
  • Is pregnant or might become pregnant within 4 weeks of getting the vaccine

Read Also: What Do You Put On Shingles

How Long Does Shingles Last

The shingles virus lasts a lifetime. However, it may remain inactive for many years at a time. A shingles attack or episode may last between two and four weeks. Here is an average timeline:

  • Pain begins on a specific area of one side of the body or face.
  • A red, blotchy rash appears within five days.
  • The rash blisters. These blisters may merge and form a solid band of inflammation.
  • New blisters may form throughout a weeks time.
  • Blisters will eventually dry and scab after seven to 10 days. Minor scarring is possible.
  • To Use Buccal Acyclovir Follow These Steps:

    Painful Skin Itching, Rash Relief Cream Shingle Solution, Maximum ...
  • Find the area on the upper gum above your left and right incisor teeth .
  • With dry hands, remove one delayed-release tablet from the container.
  • Gently apply the tablet to the upper gum area as high as it will go on your gum above one of your incisor teeth on the side of your mouth with the cold sore. Do not apply it to the inside of the lip or cheek.
  • Hold the tablet in place for 30 seconds.
  • If the tablet does not stick to your gum or if it sticks to your cheek or the inside of your lip, reposition it to stick to your gum. Leave the tablet in place until it dissolves.
  • Do not interfere with the placement of the tablet. Check to see if the tablet is still in place after eating, drinking, or rinsing your mouth.
  • If the delayed-release buccal tablet comes off within the first 6 hours of application, reapply the same tablet. If it still will not stick, then apply a new tablet. If you accidentally swallow the tablet within the first 6 hours of application, drink a glass of water and place a new tablet on your gum. If the tablet falls off or is swallowed 6 or more hours after application, do not apply a new tablet until your next regular time.

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    What Can I Do To Help Prevent Shingles Or A Shingles Outbreak

    • A vaccine may be given to help prevent shingles. You can get the vaccine even if you already had shingles. The vaccine comes in 2 forms. A 2-dose vaccine is usually given to adults 50 years or older. A 1-dose vaccine may be given to adults 60 years or older.
    • The vaccine can help prevent a future outbreak. If you do get shingles again, the vaccine can keep it from becoming severe. Ask your healthcare provider about other vaccines you may need.

    When Should I See My Doctor

    See your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any symptoms of shingles. Starting treatment with antiviral medicines within 3 days of the rash appearing should reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of further complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia.

    See your doctor straight away if you have symptoms of shingles and are experiencing the following:

    • symptoms that affect your eye area
    • a temperature of 38°C or higher

    You should also see your doctor if you are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system due to medicine that suppresses the immune system, or a condition that weakens your immune system.

    Recommended Reading: What Are Shingles Made Of

    Whats The Difference Between Cream Lotion And Ointment

    Ointments, lotions, and creams are three types of substances you can apply to your skin to help manage shingles.

    These topicals are similar, but there are slight differences in their makeup. The primary difference is the amount of water and oil they contain.

    According to this 2016 primer, creams are made up of about equal parts oil and water and often have moisturizing properties. Theyre thicker than lotions but thinner than ointments.

    Lotions are similar to creams, but they are made up mostly of water. They have less oil and have a thinner consistency. Because theyre thinner, your skin absorbs them more quickly. Some lotions are oil-free.

    Ointments are the thickest of the three. They are made to stay on top of your skin instead of being absorbed immediately. Ointments are made up of at least 80 percent oil.

    Topicals Are Not A Substitute For Medical Treatment

    Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

    Topical products can help you manage your symptoms. But they arent a substitute for proper medical treatment.

    Its important to visit your doctor if youre dealing with shingles. Your doctor can prescribe antiviral drugs and other medications that can shorten the duration of your infection and help you avoid severe complications.

    The following creams may be able to help you manage shingles symptoms.

    Read Also: How Do Tou Get Shingles

    What Other Information Should I Know

    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to acyclovir.

    Do not let anyone else take or use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    What Drugs Are Prescribed For Shingles

    If postherpetic neuralgia develops, similar medications are used to treat PHN pain.

    While it may seem strange for your doctor to prescribe drugs for shingles that are commonly used to treat depression and prevent seizures, shingles is at root a nerve disorder, and these drugs work in different ways to calm overactive nerves.

    Antiepileptics in general are thought to reduce the ability of the neurons to fire at high frequency, says Sangeetha Kodoth, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy Specialists of Knoxville in Tennessee.

    Its believed that tricyclic antidepressants an older class of antidepressants work by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, which then modify pain response.

    Antibacterial agents may also be prescribed if a bacterial infection occurs with the shingles rash.

    Before taking any medication for shingles, be sure to talk to your doctor about possible side effects.

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    Can I Give Shingles To Others

    No one can catch shingles from you. But the virus can be spread to a person who has never had chickenpox. The virus lives in the blisters that shingles causes. It can be spread until the blisters are completely healed. If you have blisters that have not crusted over yet, you should stay away from:

    • Anyone who has never had chickenpox
    • Babies under 12 months old
    • Very sick people

    Tell your doctor if you live with children who have not had chickenpox. They may need to be vaccinated.

    What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Shingrix

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    Studies show that Shingrix is safe. The vaccine helps your body create a strong defense against shingles. As a result, you are likely to have temporary side effects from getting the shots. The side effects might affect your ability to do normal daily activities for 2 to 3 days.

    Most people got a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting Shingrix, and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. Some people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms went away on their own in about 2 to 3 days. Side effects were more common in younger people.

    You might have a reaction to the first or second dose of Shingrix, or both doses. If you experience side effects, you may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

    Guillain-Barré syndrome , a serious nervous system disorder, has been reported very rarely after Shingrix. There is also a very small increased risk of GBS after having shingles.

    If you experience side effects from Shingrix, you should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System . Your doctor might file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS websiteexternal icon, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

    If you have any questions about side effects from Shingrix, talk with your doctor.

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    Can Valacyclovir Treat Shingles

    Yes. Valacyclovir is an FDA-approved treatment for herpes zoster . It decreases the duration and severity of symptoms . It should be started as soon as possible after the rash starts. You will get the best response if you take the medication within 72 hours of the rash appearing .

    Data shows that even if valacyclovir is started more than 72 hours after a rashs appearance, there can still be some benefit . Sometimes, depending on your pain level, your healthcare provider may recommend pain medication or over-the-counter remedies along with valacyclovir. As with other herpes viruses, valacyclovir does not cure shinglesit can make your current episode less painful and resolve faster if started right away.

    How Can I Treat Shingles Naturally

    The shingles virus affects the nerves, which is why a skin rash only appears in a specific area of the body rather than all over. However, nerve pain is still possible even after the shingles rash has disappeared. If the nerve fibers are damaged, they are unable to send messages from your skin to your brain. This complication of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia and it can cause severe pain, lasting months or even years.

    Postherpetic neuralgia is more common in the following patients:

    • Adults over the age of 50
    • Patients with another medical condition, like diabetes
    • Those who experienced a severe shingles rash
    • Those who experienced a shingles rash on the face or torso
    • Patients who didnt begin shingles treatment within 72 hours of symptoms appearing

    Besides chronic pain, symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia include depression, insomnia, suppressed appetite, and attention deficits. Fortunately, there are home remedies, over-the-counter products, and prescription medications that offer pain relief to these symptoms. Heres a long list of treatments:

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    Lidocaine Cream And Patches

    2017 study suggests that its one of the best-tolerated treatments for PHN.

    PHN is a complication of shingles characterized by long-term nerve pain after your rash disappears. The CDC says that about 10 to 18 percent of people experience PHN after shingles.

    Lidocaine is often administered in patches. The study linked above notes that up to 3 patches can be applied in a 12-hour window.

    Is Shingles Contagious

    Shingles: Pathophysiology, Symptoms, 3 stages of Infection, Complications, Management, Animation.

    It is not possible to catch shingles from someone else with the condition, or from someone with chickenpox.

    However, it is possible for someone who has never had chickenpox to catch it from someone with shingles, as the shingles blisters contains the live virus.

    In the UK, chickenpox is so common during childhood that 9 out of 10 adults have already had it and will not be at risk from someone with shingles.

    Recommended Reading: Can You Have Internal Shingles

    When To See A Doctor

    Contact your health care provider as soon as possible if you suspect shingles, especially in the following situations:

    • The pain and rash occur near an eye. If left untreated, this infection may lead to permanent eye damage.
    • You’re 50 or older. Age increases your risk of complications.
    • You or someone in your family has a weakened immune system. This may be due to cancer, medications or chronic illness.
    • The rash is widespread and painful.

    Shingles

    Shingles is characterized by pain or a tingling sensation in a limited area on one side of the face or torso, followed by a red rash with small, fluid-filled blisters.

    When Should I See A Doctor Because Of The Side Effects I Experience From Shingrix

    Shingrix causes a strong response in your immune system, so it may produce short-term side effects. These side effects can be uncomfortable, but they are expected and usually go away on their own in 2 or 3 days. You may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Contact your healthcare provider if the symptoms are not improving or if they are getting worse.

    In clinical trials, Shingrix was not associated with serious adverse events. In fact, serious side effects from vaccines are extremely rare. For example, for every 1 million doses of a vaccine given, only one or two people might have a severe allergic reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction happen within minutes or hours after vaccination and include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness. If you experience these or any other life-threatening symptoms, see a doctor right away.

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    What Causes Shingles

    Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After youve had chickenpox, the virus goes dormant in your body. It stays inside certain nerve cells. Your immune system keeps the virus in these cells. As you get older, your immune system may get weaker. If this happens, the virus may reactivate, causing shingles. Many times this happens years after youve had chickenpox. If you have had the chickenpox vaccine, you are less likely to get chickenpox. Therefore, youre less likely to later develop shingles.

    Most people who get shingles are over 50 years of age or have a weak immune system. For example, you might get shingles if you:

    What You Can Do

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    When you make the appointment, ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before having a specific test. Make a list of:

    • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
    • Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history
    • All medications, vitamins or supplements you take, including the doses
    • Questions to ask your doctor

    Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you’re given.

    For shingles, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

    • What’s likely causing my symptoms?
    • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms?
    • What tests do I need?
    • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
    • What’s the best course of action?
    • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you’re suggesting?
    • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
    • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
    • Should I see a specialist?
    • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

    Don’t hesitate to ask other questions.

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