Thursday, April 18, 2024

What Medicine Is Used For Shingles

How Do Dermatologists Treat Shingles

Shingles: What You Should Know | Johns Hopkins Medicine

An antiviral medication can:

  • Reduce the amount of time that you have a shingles rash

  • Lower your risk of developing long-lasting nerve pain and other health problems

One of three antiviral medications is usually prescribedacyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir.

To treat your symptoms, dermatologists typically recommend the following:

Pain: Medication that you can buy without a prescription can help, such as:

If you have severe pain, your dermatologist may prescribe a medication that reduces inflammation, such as a corticosteroid.

What To Do If You Think You Have Shingles

If you suspect that you have shingles, its important to visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible. According to the American Academy of Dermatology , treating shingles within the first 72 hours gives you the best chance of minimizing complications like nerve pain.

Antiviral medications or other medications only available by prescription can shorten the duration of your shingles or lessen the severity.

If a cream or other topical isnt reducing your pain, its a good idea to visit your doctor again. They may recommend trying another treatment like capsaicin cream instead of lidocaine.

If a product is making your symptoms worse, its important to stop taking it right away.

You may be able to reduce your symptoms using home remedies while youre waiting to see a healthcare professional. These include applying a wet cold compress or taking a cool bath.

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

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What Brings On An Attack Of Shingles

Its difficult to predict when a shingles episode might happen again. However, there are some risk factors you should consider.

  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Acute on chronic stress

The first risk factor is age. If you are above the age of 50, ask your doctor about the shingles vaccine. In addition to being an effective shingles treatment, this vaccine is used to prevent shingles.

The second risk factor of shingles is immunity. If your immune system is weakened by illness or medication, you are at risk for contracting shingles or experiencing another shingles episode. Fortunately, you can naturally strengthen your immune system with the right diet and vitamins.

Citrus fruits, green vegetables, organic meat, eggs, whole grains, and dairy products are all part of a healthy diet. You should avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, saturated fat, and arginine-rich foods, like nuts and seeds.

Additionally, take a multivitamin that includes vitamin A, B-12, C, and E. The amino acid lysine is also protective against infection. Many people over the age of 60 are deficient in zinc, selenium, and vitamin D. You may need to incorporate these supplements into your daily routine as well. Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations as to which vitamins and supplements you need.

What Can I Do For The Pain

Painful Skin Itching, Rash Relief Cream Shingle Solution, Maximum ...

To help with the pain of shingles, your doctor might have you take an over-the-counter pain medicine. This could include acetaminophen or ibuprofen .

Applying a medicated anti-itch lotion to the blisters might reduce the pain and itching. Placing cool compresses soaked in water mixed with white vinegar on the blisters and sores might also help.

If shingles causes severe pain, your doctor might prescribe a stronger pain medicine.

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Rebooting The Nervous System

Its like restarting a computer, Dr. Rosenquist says. When its running slowly or acting weird, you restart it. We are trying to turn that nerve off. When it comes back on, hopefully, it will send an appropriate transmission as opposed to a pain transmission.

Treatmentoptions for PHN patients include:

  • Intercostal nerve blocks: A local anesthetic can be injected between two ribs.
  • Thoracic epidural injections: Anti-inflammatory medicine can be injected into the space around the spinal cord to decrease nerve root inflammation and reduce pain.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: Medications such as amitriptyline may be used to relieve pain.
  • Membrane stabilizers: Medications such as gabapentin can be used to reduce the pain associated with PHN.
  • Capsaicin cream: This topical cream can be applied to the affected area to relieve pain temporarily.
  • Patientswith refractory PHN rarely need opioid pain medication. However,you should be evaluated by a physician. We cant make a blanket statement abouttreatment. It is individualized, she says.

    How Should I Take Gabapentin

    Take gabapentin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

    If your doctor changes your brand, strength, or type of gabapentin, your dosage needs may change. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the new kind of gabapentin you receive at the pharmacy.

    Both Gralise and Horizant should be taken with food.

    Neurontin can be taken with or without food.

    If you break a Neurontin tablet and take only half of it, take the other half at your next dose. Any tablet that has been broken should be used as soon as possible or within a few days.

    Swallow the capsule or tablet whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.

    Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device .

    Do not stop taking this medicine suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your dose.

    In case of emergency, wear or carry medical identification to let others know you have seizures.

    This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using gabapentin.

    Store both the tablets and capsules at room temperature away from light and moisture.

    Store the liquid medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

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    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:

    Eutectic Mixture Of Local Anesthetics Cream

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

    EMLA cream is a prescription medication made up of a 1-to-1 ratio of 2.5 percent lidocaine and 2.5 percent prilocaine.

    A 2018 case study of one person found that EMLA cream may make an effective alternative to lidocaine cream for treating PHN in people with special situations like kidney failure. However, theres not much available research about its effectiveness. Most existing research is from the 1980s and 90s.

    A doctor can give you specific instructions on how to use EMLA cream.

    Also Check: Shingles Nerve Pain How Long Does It Last

    How Can I Prevent The Spread Of The Shingles Virus

    The virus can be passed to a person who has never had chickenpox. This usually happens if the other person comes in contact with your open sores. This person may get chickenpox, but not shingles. You are contagious until your blisters scab over. Stay away from people who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine. Avoid pregnant women, newborns, and people with weak immune systems. They have a higher risk of infection.

    • Wash your hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, change a child’s diaper, and before you prepare or eat food. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
    • Cover a sneeze or cough. Use a tissue that covers your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.

    Preventing The Virus Spreading

    If you have the shingles rash, do not share towels or flannels, go swimming, or play contact sports. This will help prevent the virus being passed on to someone who has not had chickenpox.

    You should also avoid work or school if your rash is weeping and cannot be covered.

    Chickenpox can be particularly dangerous for certain groups of people. If you have shingles, avoid:

    • women who are pregnant and have not had chickenpox before as they could catch it from you, which may harm their unborn baby
    • people who have a weak immune system, such as someone with HIV or AIDS
    • babies less than one month old, unless it is your own baby, in which case your baby should have antibodies to protect them from the virus

    Once your blisters have dried and scabbed over, you are no longer contagious and will not need to avoid anyone.

    Also Check: Best Medicine For Shingles Nerve Pain

    How Long Is Shingles Contagious

    The varicella-zoster virus is contagious and can be spread from someone who has chickenpox or shingles. Although shingles is a lifelong disease, it is only contagious for some time during each episode. Shingles is contagious from the time your symptoms appear until the time that your blisters have dried or crusted, which usually happens within seven to 10 days of symptoms appearing. As long as the blistered area is covered and hands are clean the spread is contained.

    Topicals Are Not A Substitute For Medical Treatment

    Shingles Pain Relief (BM125)

    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.

    Also Check: Is Cortizone 10 Good For Shingles

    Before Taking This Medicine

    You should not use gabapentin if you are allergic to it.

    To make sure gabapentin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

    • heart disease or

    • if you are a day sleeper or work a night shift.

    Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking this medicine. Children taking gabapentin may have behavior changes. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.

    It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

    Seizure control is very important during pregnancy, and having a seizure could harm both mother and baby. Do not start or stop taking gabapentin for seizures without your doctor’s advice, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

    If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of gabapentin on the baby.

    It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles

    Shingles can appear anywhere on your body, but it is most common on your torso. A line of painful blisters develops on the left or right side of your torso. The rash starts as red dots that become blisters filled with fluid. The blisters usually grow bigger, become filled with pus, and then crust over after a few days. You may also have any of the following:

    • Severe tiredness and muscle weakness
    • Pain when your skin is lightly touched
    • Eye pain when exposed to light

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    What Other Drugs Will Affect Gabapentin

    Using gabapentin with other drugs that make you drowsy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, cold or allergy medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

    other drugs may interact with gabapentin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

    Treatment For Shingles Rash And Pain

    What You Should Know About Shingles Vaccines | Johns Hopkins Medicine

    Medications and lifestyle changes can provide relief.

    Despite the availability of a highly effective vaccine, an estimated 1 million Americans develop shingles each year.1 Early diagnosis and treatment are key to limiting the severity of the outbreak as well as its associated complications, including nerve damage. There are also simple at-home remedies that can help patients stay as comfortable as possible.

    Antiviral medications should be started within 72 hours of the first shingles symptoms. The three antivirals most often prescribed are acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir. They help the shingles rash crust over, dry up, and heal, shortening the course of the infection.

    Pain is a major factor with shingles. Patients can consult with their health care provider on over-the-counter and prescription options to manage it. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen can be effective, while prescription glucocorticoids such as prednisone can help with more aggressive pain. Short-term usage of opioid pain medicationlike oxycodone or hydrocodone/acetaminophen is reserved for the highest levels of pain.

    Shingles typically lasts between 2 and 6 weeks patients are usually confined to their home for the duration both for their own comfort and to prevent spreading the virus to others. There are a number of simple steps they can take to promote healing and increase their comfort level.

    References

    Read Also: What To Do For Shingles Nerve Pain

    Acyclovir May Cause Side Effects Tell Your Doctor If Any Of These Symptoms Are Severe Or Do Not Go Away:

    • numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms or legs
    • temporary inability to move parts of your body
    • shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control
    • loss of consciousness

    Acyclovir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking or using this medication.

    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .

    How Should This Medicine Be Used

    Acyclovir comes as a tablet, a capsule, and a suspension to take by mouth. It also comes as a delayed-release buccal tablet to apply to the upper gum of the mouth. The tablets, capsules, and suspension are usually taken with or without food two to five times a day for 5 to 10 days, starting as soon as possible after your symptoms begin. When acyclovir is used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes, it is usually taken two to five times a day for up to 12 months. The delayed-release buccal tablet is usually applied with a dry finger as a one-time dose within 1 hour after itching, redness, burning or tingling cold sore symptoms begin but before the cold sore appears. Take or use acyclovir at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take or use acyclovir exactly as directed. Do not take or use more or less of it or take it more often or for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.

    Do not chew, crush, suck, or swallow the delayed-release buccal tablets. Drink plenty of liquids, if you have a dry mouth while using the delayed-release buccal tablets.

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    What If You Have Shingles Around Or In Your Eye

    Community Eye Health

    If shingles are in the eye, they most often show up inside the eyelid and on the surface or the eyeball, says Rebecca Taylor, MD, an ophthalmologist with Nashville Vision Associates in Tennessee.

    On the surface, says Dr. Taylor, they mainly show up on the cornea, which is the clear dome of tissue that covers your iris , and the conjunctiva the clear tissue that covers the whites of your eye and the inside of your eyelid.

    If shingles is in these places, she says, youll be prescribed eye drops with steroids to calm the lesions, and lubricating tears for comfort.

    If you have had shingles in your eye, says Taylor, your eye doctor will monitor you for 3 to 12 months to make sure that your eye is returning to health and that no new developments have occurred. You may also be encouraged to have a yearly eye exam until otherwise instructed by your eye doctor.

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