Post-Shingles Pain (Neuralgia)

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by athome, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. athome

    athome New Member

    I think it might be helpful if those of us suffering wth this in addition to our CFS/FIBRO pain, could share what has worked for us to control and relieve the pain that often follows a case of shingles.

    I only mention it because usually a search for "post-shingles pain," or "postherpetic neuralgia" generally does not result in anything.

    Thanks for sharing, if you can. In my reply to alyslap, 12/9/05, I've told her what has worked for me both during the actual illness and the aftermath.

  2. victoria

    victoria New Member

    here's a copy of a post I made a while back:

    we had a friend who had recurrent shingles & PHN and a lot of pain as it was in his groin area! (BTW, Shingles is a herpes virus, it is a reactivation of the chicken pox variety, herpes zoster.)

    None of the antiviral drugs helped him. But Tagamet - yes, Tagamet - did.

    The recommended dose is: take 200 mg of cimetidine (Tagamet) three times a day and then 400 mg a bedtime.

    I did some research to try to help him and this is what I came up with. It is from Life Extension Foundation ( and explains WHY it works:

    Herpes zoster (shingles)

    "The most common neurologic condition known is herpes zoster, usually referred to as shingles. The CDC says that up to one million people in the United States contract herpes zoster each year. David Cooper, M.D., a contributing editor to JAMA, stated in 1998 that shingles afflicts more than one million people every year.

    "Herpes zoster is a reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox. Once a person has recovered from chicken pox, the virus (varicella) remains dormant, hiding among the connective nerve tissue in the body.

    "No one seems to know why it occurs, although stress and/or a compromised immune system is thought to exacerbate the condition, but it usually activates in people over the age of 50. Traveling through the ganglia, it causes a tingling, stinging or burning sensation. A couple days later, once the virus has completed its journey to the skin, an irritating and painful rash and accompanying blisters may erupt. The resulting condition can be so painful, the patient may be unable to tolerate clothing or anything that touches the affected area.

    "In cases of herpes zoster (shingles). . . Tagamet/cimetidine has been successfully used to lessen the debilitating pain and intensity of the skin rash and eruptions.

    "Published studies indicate that viruses like herpes zoster and simplex can be put into quick remission, or the breakouts prevented altogether, when T-lymphocyte suppressor cell function is inhibited. The best way of accomplishing this is to take 200 mg of cimetidine (Tagamet) three times a day and then 400 mg a bedtime.

    Tagamet is available in pharmacies over-the-counter. Suggested use is to initiate Tagamet as soon as symptoms of a herpes-related virus infection appear. Continue to take it for one to two weeks after all symptoms of the outbreak have abated.

    "When it comes to treating herpes infections, conventional doctors seem to only pay attention to drug company propaganda, while failing to recommend lower cost drugs (like cimetidine) that have been shown to work especially well in herpes patients.

    "Cimetidine (Tagamet) is a histamine2 (H2) receptor antagonist and, as such, can contribute to the enhancement of immune function. Various studies indicate cimetidine's effectiveness in suppressing herpes infections.

    "The first case observation occurred in August 1977 when a patient developed shingles just before commencing a course of cimetidine for a chronic stomach ulcer. The patient experienced dramatic relief of the shingles pain and rapid disappearance of the eruption.

    "On the basis of this observation, cimetidine was prescribed to 21 patients with herpes zoster (shingles). The results were encouraging in 18 out of these 21 patients. The trial was then extended to other herpes virus infections.

    "In six out of seven patients with herpes labialis (lip), the blisters were aborted, and in one patient with herpes keratitis the result was also encouraging, with the attacks being markedly shortened in duration and reduced in frequency. The results of these preliminary trials showed the potential role of cimetidine in the treatment of herpes virus infection.(2)

    "In 1996, a clinical trial was conducted on 221 patients with herpes zoster (SHINGLES) who were treated daily with cimetidine at 3 x 200 mg during the day and 1 x 400 mg at night. The results showed that cimetidine shortened the period of disease duration. The authors suggested using cimetidine in the treatment of shingles during the earliest stages of the disease.(3)

    "A case reported in Canada resulted in the statement that cimetidine therapy appeared to reduce the expected length of the active phase of herpes zoster from 35 days or more to just 10 days.(4)

    "At the Golda Medical Center in Israel, in 1994, a double-blind placebo-control study of cimetidine treatment versus placebo was conducted for one week in 22 patients with herpes zoster (SHINGLES). Those who were treated with cimetidine were found to recover much more quickly from skin rash and pain than those who were given the placebo.(5)

    "At the Department of Neurology at Lady Davis Carmel Hospital in Israel, a randomized study evaluated the effect of cimetidine in the treatment of herpes zoster virus. The conclusion was that cimetidine treatment “shortened the median interval until the first decrease in pain, shortened the median interval until the complete resolution of pain and promoted faster complete healing of skin lesions….”(6)

    The consensus from these studies is that when cimetidine is administered to those with herpes simplex or shingles, the result is a dramatic relief of the herpetic pain as well as rapid disappearance of the blisters.

    "One precautionary note, even though Tagamet (cimetidine) is sold over-the-counter, refer to the package insert to make sure it does not interact with prescription drugs you may already be taking.

    "Please note that if your doctor prescribes generic cimetidine, it may cost less to obtain it as a prescription drug (especially if you have prescription drug insurance) rather than buying the Tagamet name brand that is available without a prescription."

    I also read something recently that geranium oil can help get rid of the PHN pain. And, taking lysine as a preventive can work. Hope you're feeling better soon!
  3. simka

    simka New Member

  4. mrsED

    mrsED New Member

    I believe that Lyrica is being used for PHN. I think that it is supposed to help with any kind of nerve pain such as diabetic neuropathy. It might be worth checking it out on the Lyrica website and asking your Dr. about it.

  5. dunnlb

    dunnlb New Member

    Here is an excerpt from an article:

    "While near-term future market growth will be dampened by the launch of generic gabapentin (led by IVAX in August 2004), the neuropathic pain launches of a number of new products -- including Lilly's Cymbalta (duloxetine), approved for diabetic neuropathy in September 2004, and Lyrica (pregabalin), Pfizer's follow-on to Neurontin -- will support growth at an annual rate of 17% through 2014."
  6. jaguarsky

    jaguarsky New Member

    Hi Guys,

    I was lol after reading the post with the projected growth in the drug market having to do with Lyrica and Cymbalta. I am pleased to find out that my pain has been helpful.


[ advertisement ]