What Is The Best Pain Reliever For Shingles?

The discomfort of shingles is well-known. The rash caused by shingles is far more excruciating than the one caused by chickenpox you experienced many years ago. Doctors can ease the pain of an individual with shingles to the greatest extent possible. There is currently no known cure, although several effective therapies exist.

So, what is the best pain reliever for shingles? This article will answer this question and provide tips on pain relievers that you can use to treat shingles.

Have you considered clinical trials for Shingles?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Shingles, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What are shingles?

The varicella virus, responsible for chickenpox, may linger in the body and produce shingles. The virus infects the nerve root, where it stays latent until triggered to cause shingles by certain factors. These include age, stress, or a weakened immune system.

The duration of the resulting blisters and rash is something that doctors want to minimize. They are also looking for a way to ease the itchiness, discomfort, and potential for future complications. 

In adults, shingles may cause chronic nerve discomfort at the site of the blisters. Sometimes, this discomfort might linger for a whole year or more — a condition called post-herpetic neuralgia.

Prednisone for shingles

Prednisone is an example of an anti-inflammatory drug belonging to the corticosteroid class. Inflammation can be reduced with the help of these drugs. 

Despite mixed outcomes from clinical studies, herpes zoster is often treated with corticosteroids taken by mouth. It has been proven that the discomfort from herpes zoster may be lessened by using prednisone in combination with acyclovir.

Researchers believe that corticosteroids should only be administered to people over 50 due to the theoretical danger of immunosuppression. This is due to this age group's increased risk of post-herpetic neuralgia.

Neuritis due to active infection is thought to be mitigated, and any remaining nerve damage may be lessened due to this process. In some studies, prednisone therapy has been shown to reduce pain at three and 12 months following the end of shingles.

Side effects of prednisone

Corticosteroids, like any drug, can cause problems depending on the dosage and length of use. Low-dose prednisone (7.5 milligrams per day or less) often has fewer and milder side effects than high-dose prednisone (more than 30 milligrams per day) and can be controlled with the proper measures.

Low-dose prednisone has several common adverse effects, including the following:

  • High blood pressure or hypertension

  • Swelling

  • Increased glucose levels

  • Improved hunger

  • Gains in weight

  • Insomnia

  • Osteoporosis

  • Periodic bowel disturbance

  • Mood shifts

Extreme or prolonged prednisone usage might cause serious adverse effects, such as:

  • Slow healing of wounds

  • Slowed childhood development

  • Reduction in muscle growth

  • Subcutaneous fat

  • Diseases or injuries to the digestive tract causing internal bleeding

  • Troubles seeing clearly

  • Greater potential for infection 

  • Allergic responses can be fatal, although they are very uncommon

Drug interactions of prednisone

There is no evidence that drinking alcohol affects prednisone's effectiveness. Increased risk of adverse effects is the biggest worry when combining alcohol with prednisone. Many variables, including the amount of alcohol consumed and a person's history of alcohol misuse, addiction, or use disorder, influence the result of combining prednisone and alcohol.

Taking alcohol into your system while undergoing prednisone medication is not recommended. Alcohol consumption while taking prednisone may increase the chance of side effects. Combining alcohol consumption with prednisone may heighten susceptibility to bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic diseases.

Tylenol for shingles

The brand name Tylenol, or acetaminophen, is a medicine used to treat pain and lower temperature. Although the precise mechanism by which acetaminophen alleviates pain is still a mystery, it is thought to include interactions with specific brain receptors.

After receiving the Shingrix vaccination, you may find that using an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), is helpful. If you have a fever or muscle aches after being vaccinated, Tylenol can help.

Acetaminophen can help reduce a fever by influencing the brain's temperature-control center. Acetaminophen lacks the anti-inflammatory properties of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); hence, it may not be as effective for treating inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.

Standard acetaminophen has a four- to six-hour half-life. Regular acetaminophen dosing occurs every four to six hours and consists of 325 to 650 milligrams. 

Always read and adhere to the medicine label's recommended dose. Acetaminophen overdose is associated with substantial health risks, including liver damage. 

For the safest and most effective use of acetaminophen, it is best to discuss dosing with a medical professional. Healthy persons should not use acetaminophen over 3,250 milligrams in a 24-hour period.

All-in-one pain relievers containing acetaminophen are readily accessible without a prescription. Because it is so cheap and readily accessible as a generic medicine, Medicare and other insurance programs may not cover acetaminophen. On average, generic acetaminophen costs $11.99.

Side effects of acetaminophen

Below are some possible side effects of taking acetaminophen:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Constipation

  • Itching

  • Distress in the gut

Additionally, liver damage and skin rashes are also potential adverse reactions.

Drug interactions of acetaminophen

The popular blood thinner warfarin may interact with acetaminophen. An increased bleeding risk has been linked to using acetaminophen and warfarin. Alcohol use with acetaminophen has been linked to an increased risk of bleeding.

Interactions between acetaminophen and the antibiotic isoniazid have been reported.¹ Taking acetaminophen while taking isoniazid increases the risk of liver damage.

Ibuprofen for shingles

Ibuprofen is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Ibuprofen may be used to lessen inflammation.

While the analgesic effects of the medicine will kick in almost immediately, the anti-inflammatory benefits may not fully kick in for many weeks. Tablets, capsules, gels, sprays, and creams are only a few of the ibuprofen delivery systems.

If you are taking other medicines, including OTCs, you must verify with your doctor that they do not interact with ibuprofen before beginning treatment.

Side effects of ibuprofen

Below are some possible side effects of taking ibuprofen:

  •  Nausea

  • Headache

  • Discomfort in the abdomen

  • Gastritis

  • Fluctuations in bowel routine

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • You can take Advil for shingles because it provides fast and lasting pain relief.

Drug interactions with ibuprofen

Some dietary supplements, such as krill oil, garlic oil, and omega-3 fatty acids, alter bleeding; however, this is not hazardous. If you use ibuprofen and are prone to bleeding or bruising, you should take a break from the supplements for a while.

If you smoke or drink alcohol, you should probably take less ibuprofen since it might increase your risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. Avoid excessive alcohol use, although having one or two drinks is okay.

Care should be used while taking ibuprofen with other NSAIDs, notably ketorolac, due to the increased risk of side effects, including gastrointestinal symptoms, bleeding difficulties, and renal troubles.

Ibuprofen may have an additive impact on the blood pressure-raising effects of other medicines, including stimulants and migraine medications. It is essential to monitor your blood pressure closely when taking any of these medications. You should discuss this with your physician.

The lowdown

Antiviral medication cannot cure shingles but can hasten recovery, shorten the illness's duration, and lessen the likelihood of complications. Your doctor may prescribe tramadol, oxycodone, or morphine-based pain medicines. Opioid addiction and dependence are genuine concerns; talk to your doctor about this.

It's possible to have shingles for the rest of your life, even though the ailment often resolves itself within a few weeks. Treatment focuses on relieving discomfort as those with shingles wait to improve their condition. 

Topical drugs, OTC analgesics, tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and other nonmedical techniques are only some of the therapies that may be used in pain therapy. On rare occasions, pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and prednisone may be necessary.

Have you considered clinical trials for Shingles?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Shingles, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

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