What are the treatment options for herpes zoster (shingles)?

Updated: Feb 11, 2021
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Episodes of herpes zoster (shingles) are generally self-limited and resolve without intervention; they tend to be more benign and mild in children than in adults. An enormous number and variety of therapeutic approaches have been proposed over the years, most of which are probably ineffective. [79] Some effective therapies do exist, however, and these can reduce the extent and duration of symptoms, and possibly the risk of chronic sequelae (eg, postherpetic neuralgia [PHN]) as well.

Therapeutic choices generally depend on the host’s immune state and on the presentation of zoster. Conservative therapy includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); wet dressings with 5% aluminum acetate (Burow solution), applied for 30-60 minutes 4-6 times daily; and lotions (such as calamine).

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