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Treatments for Shingles

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The more you know about your health, the better prepared you are to make informed healthcare decisions. Our health library gives you the information you need to take charge of your health.

While there are no treatments to cure shingles, there are treatment goals, such as:

  • Shortening the length of the illness
  • Preventing complications, such as post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Relieving pain and discomfort
  • Preventing the rash from becoming infected

Treatment involves:

Lifestyle changesMedicationsAlternative and complementary therapiesOther treatments

At this time, there are no surgical procedures for the treatment of shingles.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: David Horn, MD
  • Review Date: 05/2014 -
  • Update Date: 05/07/2014 -
  • NINDS shingles information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/shingles.htm . Updated January 10, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2013.

  • Shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/q---t/shingles . Accessed May 30, 2013.

  • Shingles. American Academy of Family Physicians' FamilyDoctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/shingles.html . Updated January 2011. Accessed May 30, 2013.

  • Shingles (herpes zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/overview.html . Updated January 10, 2011. Accessed September 7, 2012.

  • Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, Packer D. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician . 2000;61(8). Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0415/p2437.html . Accessed May 30, 2013.

  • Zoster. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated May 20, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2013.