While almost everyone has developed chickenpox as a child, or has had the chickenpox vaccine, there are complications that can manifest later in life. When chickenpox goes away, it actually hides and remains dormant in the nerves of the body. Occasionally, in stressful situations, especially as people age, the chickenpox virus can reactivate. When it reactive aids, this is called shingles. In contrast to chickenpox, which spreads across the entire body, Shingles tends to follow a single nerve. This is called a dermatome. Shingles causes a rash that looks similar but is also exquisitely painful. This can be debilitating and can make it difficult for people to go to work, move around the house, or even get out of bed in the morning. For this reason, it is important for people to understand the various treatment options that are available for shingles.
Without a doubt, the mainstay treatment option for Shingles is a prescription medication called Valacyclovir. The brand name for this medication is Valtrex. This is an antiviral medication that has great activity against herpes viruses such as the virus that causes shingles. This medication works by stopping the replication and shedding of virus cells throughout the body. The sooner this medication is administered to somebody with shingles, the more effective it is going to be. There are some side effects that can develop with Valtrex including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a headache. On the other hand, this medication is important in controlling shingles as quickly as possible. For those who truly have trouble tolerating Valtrex, there are alternatives available, such as acyclovir. While this medication can also be used to treat shingles, it is not as effective as Valtrex.
Another facet of Shingles that needs to be addressed if the pain. This is typically a neuropathic pain given the location of the virus inside of the human body. Therefore, the medications that are used to treat the pain associated with Shingles also need to target the nerves. This is where a medication called gabapentin, also known as Neurontin, comes in to play. This medication works by addressing the pain associated with nerve injury. In this respect, gabapentin is used to treat the severe, nerve specific pain that is associated with Shingles. While this medication is generally effective at treating the pain that is associated with this virus, more powerful options could be needed.
Lastly, the inflammatory response of the body to Shingles also needs to be addressed. The rash that breaks out when the Shingles virus reactivates and is associated with the body's inflammatory response. Therefore, anti-inflammatory medications also play an important role in the treatment of Shingles. Examples of anti-inflammatory medications include acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which are also called Tylenol and Motrin. While these medications are sold over-the-counter, there are more powerful options available, such as ketorolac, which people may be able to receive from their doctor with a prescription.
Shingles is an incredibly painful virus that needs to be treated as quickly as possible. It is a reactivation of chickenpox. The treatment of Shingles needs to be well-rounded to address all of the symptoms and make people are comfortable. The rash, the virus itself, and the pain all need to be considered in order to help people make a full and rapid recovery.