Question:

What can be the lasting side effect of shingles?

The Worst-Case Scenario for Shingles: Postherpetic Neuralgia

In some cases, the symptoms of shingles are unresponsive to treatment and progress to become long-term problems. Postherpetic neuralgia is a potentially debilitating condition that affects the peripheral nervous system and occurs as a result of a shingles outbreak. It affects approximately 10-15% of those individuals who develop shingles. Symptoms are constant burning pain that is brought on by even the slightest contact or movement. The nerve irritation of postherpetic neuralgia can go on for months or years, long after other signs of shingles have disappeared.

Since this side effect of shingles is so painful and is also resistant to treatment, proper and early treatment of the original shingles outbreak is critical to lessen the chances of such as problem developing. 40-50% of people who experience postherpetic neuralgia don't respond to treatment for the condition. Even so, treatment options do exist and should be tried in an attempt to get relief.

Treatment options for this condition include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Topical anaesthetics
  • Anticonvulsant medications
  • Opiod-based drug therapy
Avoiding this type of neuralgia is the goal when one treats shingles pain. It is one side effect you can do without.

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