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Definition of Postherpetic neuralgia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Postherpetic neuralgia: The most common complication of shingles, persistence of the pain associated with shingles beyond 1 month, even after the rash is gone. The pain can be severe and debilitating, and it occurs primarily in persons over age 50. The pain of postherpetic neuralgia can be reduced by certain medications including tricyclic antidepressant medications and some antiseizure medications. Capsaicin cream, a derivative of hot chili peppers, or lidocaine patches can be applied on the area after all the blisters have healed, to reduce pain. Acupuncture and electric nerve stimulation through the skin can be helpful for some patients.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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