As soon as you are diagnosed with shingles, your doctor probably will start treatment with antiviral medicines. If you begin medicines within the first 3 days of seeing the shingles rash, you have a lower chance of having later problems, such as post herpetic neuralgia. The most common treatments for shingles include:
- Antiviral medicines, such as acyclovir, famciclovir or valacycloyir to reduce the pain and the duration of shingles.
- Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce pain during an attack of shingles. Be safe with medicines. You must read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Topical antibiotics, applied directly to the skin, to stop infection of the blisters.
For severe cases of shingles, some doctors may have their patients use corticosteroids along with antiviral medicines. But corticosteroids are not used very often for shingles. This is because studies show that taking a corticosteroid along with an antiviral medicine doesn’t help any more than just taking an antiviral medicine by itself.