Post Herpetic Neuralgia And The Management Of Post Herpetic Neuralgia

POST-HERPETIC NEURALGIA Shingles (herpes zoster virus) can cause pain resulting from various cranial nerves. The pain may start during an acute rash of herpes but the main problem is pain that persists after the herpes rash has gone. Common symptoms of  Post-Herpetic Neuralgia include a constant deep pain, with repeated stabs, or needle pricking pain. Even light touch can trigger these symptoms which may be accompanied by itching. Half of patients have no pain after three years.

Post-Herpetic Neuralgia Management:

Management consists of taking anti viral drugs early on with the herpes infection. Topical (skin) calamine lotion and OTC analgesics are useful early on. If the pain persists after the rash has gone, tricyclic antidepressants are effective. Chili peppers contain capsaicin which is formulated into a topical cream. Care must be taken not to get the cream into the eyes or mucous membranes. Initially the cream can make the pain worse but with continued use, the pain may eventually abate. Surgical intervention of  Post-Herpetic Neuralgia is not unanimously effective.

Source: Dr Andrew Dowson

Publication Date: July 2003


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