Treatment of shingles needs to be done soon after the rash appears.  If you think you have shingles and are in Houston, contact the physicians at Village Dermatology so that you can be started on the appropriate treatment.  

There are several antiviral medications that are used to treat shingles.  These include acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famiciclovir.  These medications will shorten the duration as well as the severity of the shingles outbreak.  However, to be effective, they really should be started very soon after the rash begins.  Anyone who thinks he or she has shingles should see a healthcare professional to discuss treatment options.

Pain medications may help relieve the pain caused by shingles.  Traditional pain medications such as narcotics are not as effective as medications that help treat neuropathic (or nerve-related) pain.  One medication commonly used is gabapentin, which reduces the release of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that is involved in transmitting pain signals to the brain.  If pain is severe at the time a patient presents to clinic, it is best to begin treatment with gabapentin right away, as this has been shown to decrease the risk of developing long-lasting pain from shingles.

Prevention is possible with the shingles vaccine, and this also reduces the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia, or long-lasting pain symptoms.