Here is some information about the medicines used when you have shingles. Only the most basic problems are listed. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special steps. Use each of these medicines as advised by your doctor or package instructions. If you have any questions, call your doctor.
No medicine can cure shingles. They can shorten how long you are sick, lower the risk of problems, and ease pain.
If you get postherpetic neuralgia with pain, your doctor may give you medicines that are used for pain.
Common names are:
These can shorten how long you are sick. They may also ease pain. They may also help avoid problems, such as post-herpetic neuralgia.
Side effects may be:
Ibuprofen can also help ease aches and pains. To lower your chance of having an upset stomach, take ibuprofen with food.
Common brand name: Benadryl
Diphenhydramine can help ease itching from the rash.
Side effects may be:
Caladryl lotion can help soothe the itching from the rash. Put it on several times each day.
Antibiotic ointments may help if your rash has become infected. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to put it on open areas of your rash. You put it on several times each day.
If you are taking medicines, follow these steps:
Call your doctor if you:
Herpes zoster. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113997/Herpes-zoster. Updated February 19, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.
NINDS shingles information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/shingles.htm. Updated June 27, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.
Shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/shingles. Accessed July 16, 2018.
Shingles (herpes zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/overview.html. Updated June 15, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.
Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, Packer D. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(8):2437-2444.
Last reviewed May 2018 by James P. Cornell, MD Last Updated: 7/16/2018