What Are the Medications for Treating Shingles?

Shingles refers to a painful rash that develops as a result of the varicella-zoster virus. The Mayo Clinic says that signs of shingles include a numbness, pain or burning that occurs on one side of the body. In some instances, this eventually turns into a red rash. Blisters may then form, break and eventually itch. A headache, fatigue and fever are other signs of the shingles. There are several medications for treating shingles.

Acyclovir

Acyclovir, commonly sold as Zovirax, is an antiviral medication that halts the spread of the herpes virus in the body. Specifically, this medication treats genital herpes, shingles, the chicken pox and cold sores. Drugs.com says that acyclovir’s less concerning side effects include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling of the hands or feet and a headache. Some of its serious side effects include lower back pain, weakness and decreased urination. Notify a doctor when these side effects develop. Acyclovir is a tablet taken once a day.

Valacyclovir

Valacyclovir, commonly sold as Valtrex, is another antiviral drug that stops the spread of the herpes virus throughout the body. Specifically, this medication manages the shingles, chickenpox, cold sores and genital herpes. Drugs.com says that some of its less concerning side effects include menstrual pain, a mild skin rash, a stuffy nose and a sore throat. In some instances, valacyclovir leads to depression, fatigue, a skin rash and joint pain. Some of its serious side effects that require immediate attention include shortness of breath, confusion, aggression, agitation, increased thirst and lower back pain. Other side effects include seizures and hallucinations. Valacyclovir is a tablet taken daily or as indicated.

Oxycodone

Oxycodone, commonly sold as Oxycontin, Roxicodone or OxylR, is a narcotic medication that reduces the pain from shingles. Medline Plus indicates that oxycodone alters the brain and nervous system’s response to pain. Some of its less concerning side effects include constipation, a poor appetite, dry mouth, lightheadedness, weakness and sweating. Some of its serious side effects include seizures, confusion, a loss of consciousness, trouble swallowing and a fast or slow heartbeat. Notify a doctor when these effects develop. Oxycodone is a tablet taken daily or as indicated.