In a flooded market dominated by competing big pharma companies all after your wallet, it can seem impossible to discern what the best medication for your individual, unique condition is.
There are a handful of drugs for shingles available, each with slightly varying constituents, and each providing effective herpes zoster treatment on their own accords.
What Are the Best Prescription Drugs for Shingles?
As HZ is a virus caused by VZV, it’s obvious that antiviral drugs are going to render the most efficacious results. In case you didn’t notice, it’s in the name—anti denotes contra, which fundamentally implies opposition.
The duplet fronting this drug list are some of the celebrated names in antivirals—acyclovir and valacyclovir. The consequent medicines, though, can also treat the inconvenient, nettlesome virus.
Prevention is essentially useless, as once infected with the chickenpox, VZV lives internally forever. While sometimes it never becomes reactivated, one in three people will encounter a bout with shingles in this mortal coil.
An obligatory disclaimer is necessitated since controlled substances, always use prescription meds as recommended. Adhere to dosage instructions carefully and follow through with the entire course, even if your perceptible symptoms have subsided.
Acyclovir for Shingles
Zovirax is the household name, acyclovir the generic, chemical name. Acyclovir for shingles is likely the most prescribed treatment medicine for shingles. Specifically designed to combat infections that are caused by the herpes virus, acyclovir heals many varieties of herpes viruses (herpesviridae), not just HZ. Herpes simplex, herpes labialis or orolabial herpes, and genital herpes.
Not only does acyclovir treat the infection and halt the virus from moving about and taking up new residence on other areas of the skin, but it also effectuates speedy healing of already formed sores and rashes.
Valacyclovir for Shingles
Second only to acyclovir, valacyclovir for shingles is the next most famous drug for shingles treatment. The trade name may sound more familiar though—VALTREX, branded in all caps to enforce its efficacy. VALTREX for shingles has the identical mechanism of action as the aforementioned med, but with a different active ingredient.
When prescribed VALTREX for shingles, you can expect to stop seeing the formation of new lesions, while the existing sores retreat. Have patience though, as it can take longer than a week for positive results to be noticed.
As with the previous, the sooner you start the medication, the more responsive it will be. If possible, begin the course within the first 72 hours of an outbreak to intercept the virus in its tracks.
Gabapentin for Shingles
Gabapentin belongs to a classification of drugs of anticonvulsants and antiepileptics formulated to combat seizures. Because it targets neuropathic pain, gabapentin for shingles is an excellent option for managing the symptoms of PHN—postherpetic neuralgia. PHN is a tiresome, yet commonplace, complication of zona and the persistent jabbing, burning symptoms can linger for months or years.
There are different variations of release, like immediate, sustained, and enacarbil sustained, so ensure to stick to the exact dosage guidelines and instructions issued by your prescriber.
Drastic side effects may ensue while taking this medicament, however, don’t let these deter you. If your doctor has ordered gabapentin for your nerve pain, they’ve considered the pros and cons and have decided the former outweighs the latter. Some patients experience coordination loss, the shakes or tremors, disorientation and dizziness, and excessive tiredness. Visual distortion, seeing blurriness, and strange ocular movements also may occur. However, not everyone experiences such scary aftereffects.
Gabapentin is also offered under the brand Neurontin—from Pfizer, the same company who delivered the famed little blue pill for erectile dysfunction, Viagra to the world—among over 300 others, such as Gralise.
Lysine for Shingles
Lysine is one of the basic components of protein, promoting biosynthesis. An amino acid, lysine for shingles is effective as it prevents herpes from continuing to grow. While it has been known to enhance athletic ability too, lysine is also prescribed to treat herpetic cold sores.
Speeding up the healing process of sores, and lessening the rate of recurrence, Lysine is thought to have some other remarkable benefits such as lowering anxiety levels and aiding healthy digestion. As the GI tract eats up more calcium, more of the vitamin is deposited into the skeletal foundation, making it stronger and more robust.
Over the Counter Medications for Shingles
Select a helpful ointment from the pain relievers aisle at your everyday go to drug store. There are a couple of options to choose from, like an OTC analgesia topical cream such as lidocaine for numbing the area of struggle. Benadryl lotions will provide temporary alleviation from itchiness.
NSAIDs and pain relief in the form of your typical headache tablets will also provide some abatement from the stressors of shingles.
Supplemental Relief at Home
Further pain management matters can be taken into your own hands at home. Many shingles victims rave about the wonders of chilly, moistened compresses that deliver soothing effects to the irritated skin. Bathing in oatmeal is another fantastic, DIY remedy. Many people keep a box of baking soda on hand, from which a demulcent paste can be mixed and applied to the rash. The cleansing properties will assist in controlling the eager infection.
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