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Shingles medications questions

chb088chb088 932 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 963 Member
Hi, I’m recently diagnosed with Shingles, on my face and scalp of all places. I am on Valtrex, and prescription strength ibuprofen. I also have GERD, so I’m concerned about the ibuprofen irritating that further. If you took Lyrica, or another anti convulsant, how long was it before you felt relief? Would it provide relief from itching, or just pain? I have also asked my doctor these questions and am awaiting a response. I’m just looking for a variety of individual experiences. Thank you.
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Replies to: Shingles medications questions

  • bluebayoubluebayou 26585 replies174 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,759 Senior Member
    I had a mild case of shingles last year and took Alleve which dulled the itch/irritation. First week was the worst, but most symptoms persisted for 2+ weeks.

    Lotta good info on this thread. Perhaps the mods could merge.

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/2085456-shingles.html#latest
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  • chb088chb088 932 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 963 Member
    @bluebayou thanks. I believe I’m already on that thread. I was trying to have just one thread strictly discussing medications, rather than all the other stuff, so I’d prefer it if the threads were not merged. Thanks for your experience. I’m unable to tolerate Aleve due to my GERD.
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  • HImomHImom 33966 replies387 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 34,353 Senior Member
    Our dermatologist prescribed an antiviral for the shingles when I had a suspected case. I think that's the recommendation to help keep the infection from spreading, since it is a virus. I didn't take anything for pain because mine was caught early with the antiviral and I didn't develop pain. Both my D and my H had to have a painkiller with codeine to be able to sleep. They were both miserable with their shingles (we all got it years apart from one another). I think it may have been Tylenol with codeine, but can't remember.
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  • runnersmomrunnersmom 2140 replies36 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,176 Senior Member
    My mom was prescribed the antiviral (valacyclovir) for her shingles and it seems to stop the progression. Hers, too, was on her neck and torso and the doctor sent her straight to the eye doctor to make sure it hadn't impacted the optic nerve, which it had not. She took Tylenol for the pain, but the itchiness was the main problem. My sister got her some sort of spray (like for a sunburn) and that seemed to help, a little. She has cardiac issues and can't take Advil so her options are also limited but she seems to be on the mend after 2 weeks. She still has some nerve pain and I worry that will persist but she's managing.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76552 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,217 Senior Member
    Had a slightly itchy rash once. Eventually saw a physician who said it was shingles and prescribed valacyclovir (Valtrex brand). No other drugs. The slightly itchy rash went away (not sure if it would have taken longer to go away without the valacyclovir, since I was not quick to go to the physician). Pretty boring for a shingles story, though now I recognize what the shingles rash looks like.

    However, I know some other people whose shingles started with non-specific aches or pains which were initially misdiagnosed by physicians (sometimes resulting in the prescription of useless or worse drugs like antibiotics) before the rash occurred.
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  • MaterSMaterS 1807 replies51 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,858 Senior Member
    I just got home from the doctor with a diagnosis of shingles. He prescribed valacyclovir and triamcinolone cream. I also asked for a prescription for Zofran which can prevent nausea and vomiting.
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  • chb088chb088 932 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 963 Member
    @MaterS you’re only a few days behind me. I don’t know anything about that cream. Let me know if it works well.
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  • MaterSMaterS 1807 replies51 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,858 Senior Member
    The cream does help with the itching. It burns when you first put it on and then dulls the itching. My rash is only on my torso at this point. It's kind of tricky to reach the rash.

    My insurance co-pay was $6. The cash price was under $20.
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  • HImomHImom 33966 replies387 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 34,353 Senior Member
    Valtrex is quite expensive if not covered by insurance. Mine was covered and had minimal or no copay. Capsican lotion may help if the corticosteroid cream and other ointments don't do the trick. It's hard to know what works best. If you can't sleep, you can't heal. If the pain interferes with sleep, let your provider know so you can get stronger pain relief to sleep--both H & D needed that.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76552 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,217 Senior Member
    HImom wrote:
    Valtrex is quite expensive if not covered by insurance.

    Note that generic valacyclovir has been available in the US since 2009. There is also an older related drug acyclovir.
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  • MaterSMaterS 1807 replies51 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,858 Senior Member
    The cash price for a seven day course of treatment for generic valacyclovir is less than $20 by me.
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  • chb088chb088 932 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 963 Member
    Yes the valtrex generic was affordable. I’m just very itchy. I only have otc stuff for that!
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 1898 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,923 Senior Member
    edited February 17
    Triamcinolone cream is a steroid cream, which derms generally do not prescribe for rashes on the face, as it can thin the skin. Ask your doc if there is another product to use for healing/itch relief if shingles rash is on face and/or near eyes.
    edited February 17
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  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 16728 replies156 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,884 Senior Member
    However, I know some other people whose shingles started with non-specific aches or pains which were initially misdiagnosed by physicians (sometimes resulting in the prescription of useless or worse drugs like antibiotics) before the rash occurred.

    A few days before my rash presented, I had excruciating pain in my upper right quadrant. It felt like deep organ pain. I was thinking I was getting pancreatitis or something involving the liver. It was so bad I couldn't sleep. I was out of town going to an accepted students day with D, so I didn't go to a doctor at that time. Had I done so, they probably would have been doing a workup to check for those things (or gallstones if I'd had a gallbladder). And that would have been completely logical.
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  • MaterSMaterS 1807 replies51 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,858 Senior Member
    At first I thought I had the flu then I thought I had a kidney infection. As soon as the rash appeared I went to urgent care. But it was less than 36 hours after the other symptoms.

    The doctor said I should feel better within four days. I slept 9 hours last night except getting up to drink water.

    I'm just angry. I have been trying to get the vaccine for over six months. I was on the waitlst at three pharmacies. Every time I was at a pharmacy that didn't have a waitlist I stood in line to ask if it was available.
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  • oneofthosemomsoneofthosemoms 350 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 351 Member
    I had stabbing pain in my ear canal, went to doctor for what I thought was an ear infection and she blew me off. Went back two days later when outer ear became red and swollen, told her I suspected shingles. She said it was probably an infection and gave me antibiotics. Then blisters appeared on my outer ear, so a third visit for the test which confirmed shingles (and I'd had Zostavax a few years prior).

    I managed the pain with maximum doses of Tylenol and Advil, each taken every four hours (so I took something every two hours). At least it stopped me from screaming and moaning on the floor until the acyclovir kicked in.

    Last year I called my HMO about Shingrix every week but they never had it in stock so I gave up. Tried again last week and still no go. I've decided to pay out of pocket if I find a local pharmacy that has it. I really don't want to go through shingles ever again.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 37520 replies2048 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 39,568 Super Moderator
    At first, DH had pain in his back. We used Icy Hot on it and then he broke out in a rash that we assumed was a reaction to the cream! But then he got pain in his chest so severe that he thought he was having a heart attack. He was relieved it was "just" shingles, although I was freaked out because I remembered how horrible it had been for my grandmother.
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  • chb088chb088 932 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 963 Member
    Mine started as a single swollen and itchy lump on my forehead. A day later I had a terrible stomach ache. A day after that I got more bumps. That’s when I knew and saw the doctor to confirm.
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  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 16728 replies156 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,884 Senior Member
    Prior referenced right sided "organ pain"-I was hoping it was pancreatitis and not liver cancer. When the rash showed up, I knew immediately what it was and was SOOOOO relieved it was only shingles! Then I went to the ER because it was agonizingly painful.

    I was given antivirals and a short course of vicodin with no refills. :)
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