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Postherpetic Neuralgia

By

Kenneth M. Kaye

, MD, Harvard Medical School

Reviewed/Revised Dec 2023
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Exactly why postherpetic neuralgia occurs is not well-understood.

Postherpetic neuralgia occurs most often in older adults. As people age, the chance of developing postherpetic neuralgia increases.

Symptoms of Postherpetic Neuralgia

The pain of postherpetic neuralgia occurs in the area where the shingles rash occurred. The pain may be constant or intermittent. The pain may be severe and even incapacitating.

The pain may subside within several months but may persist for years.

Diagnosis of Postherpetic Neuralgia

  • A doctor's evaluation

If people who have had shingles continue to have pain in the area affected by shingles, they should see a doctor.

Postherpetic neuralgia diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and results of a physical examination in people who have had shingles.

Treatment of Postherpetic Neuralgia

  • Pain-relieving medications or creams

  • Sometimes other medications

Although a number of treatments for severe postherpetic neuralgia have been tried, no treatment is routinely successful.

Postherpetic neuralgia treatments may include

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
Active-PAC with Gabapentin, Gabarone , Gralise, Horizant, Neurontin
Lyrica, Lyrica CR
Elavil, Tryptanol, Vanatrip
7T Lido, Akten , ALOCANE, ANASTIA, AneCream, Anestacon, Aspercreme with Lidocaine, AsperFlex, Astero , BenGay, Blue Tube, Blue-Emu, CidalEaze, DermacinRx Lidocan III, DermacinRx Lidogel, DermacinRx Lidorex, DERMALID, Ela-Max, GEN7T, Glydo, Gold Bond, LidaFlex, LidaMantle, Lidocan, Lidocare, Lidoderm, LidoDose, LidoDose Pediatric, Lidofore, LidoHeal-90, LIDO-K , LidoLite, Lidomar , Lidomark, LidoPure, LidoReal-30, LidoRx, Lidosense 4 , Lidosense 5, Lidosol, Lidosol-50, LIDO-SORB, Lidotral, Lidovix L, LIDOZION, Lidozo, LMX 4, LMX 4 with Tegaderm, LMX 5, LTA, Lydexa, Moxicaine, Numbonex, ReadySharp Lidocaine, RectaSmoothe, RectiCare, Salonpas Lidocaine, Senatec, Solarcaine, SUN BURNT PLUS, Tranzarel, Xyliderm, Xylocaine, Xylocaine Dental, Xylocaine in Dextrose, Xylocaine MPF, Xylocaine Topical, Xylocaine Topical Jelly, Xylocaine Topical Solution, Xylocaine Viscous, Zilactin-L, Zingo, Zionodi, ZTlido
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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