Effect of nerve pills and relationship to Shingles

Do nerve pills actually suppress the nervous system and how would that effect the Shingles virus which is known to activate under large amounts of stress?

I gather you are talking about anti-axiety drugs (anxiolytics). Benzodiazepines is one of the major groups of anxiolytics, and includes Xanax. Benzodiazepines are central nervous depressants, meaning that they reduce the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. They do this by binding to the GABA-A receptor and enhancing the effect of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA when it binds to the same receptor. The binding of GABA to a GABA receptor on a neuron causes hyperpolarization of the neuron by ion flow through the cellular membrane and decreases the chance of an action potential. So yes, nerve pills act by supressing the nervous system.

As for your question about interaction with Shingles, I think that's considered off-topic under the personal medical questions policy.

Antiviral Drugs May Help Relieve Nerve Pain Related To Shingles

A small trial suggests that treatment with intravenous and oral antiviral medications may reduce the nerve pain that occurs following shingles, according to a study posted online today that will appear in the July 2006 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Shingles (herpes zoster) is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox, according to background information in the article. The virus lays dormant in the nervous system for decades after infection with chickenpox. When it becomes reactivated, the virus causes a rash and nerve pain (postherpetic neuralgia). Postherpetic neuralgia can that lasts for months or years and affects as many as one million people in the United States.

Dianna Quan, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Colorado and Health Sciences Center, Denver, administered antiviral therapy to 15 patients (12 men and three women) with moderate to severe nerve pain following shingles. Participants received 10 milligrams of the medication acyclovir intravenously every eight hours for 14 days and then took three 1,000-milligram pills of the medication valacyclovir per day for one month. The patients were asked to rate their pain on a scale of zero to 10 at the beginning of the study, then again after finishing each therapy and one month after finishing valacyclovir.

One month after therapy, eight (53 percent) patients reported that their pain had reduced significantly (by two or more points). This was similar to the percentage of patients who reported such an improvement after day 15 (seven) and after day 45 (eight). Most patients tolerated the treatment well, although five dropped out of the study early, three of them because of complications related to the therapy.

"Although our study was small and without placebo control, the findings suggests a promising effect of antiviral treatment on postherpetic neuralgia," the authors conclude. "Treatment of postherpetic neuralgia with IV acyclovir will be expensive. However, elimination or reduction of pain coupled with reduced burden of disease and use of health care resources would offset treatment costs."

(Arch Neurol. 2006 63: (doi: 10.1001/archneur.63.7.noc60049). Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: This study was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health and a grant from the Avenir Foundation.

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Materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

How to Treat Nerve Pain Caused by Shingles

This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Tennessee in 2006.

There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Research shows that post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is an extremely painful condition that sometimes occurs following the herpes zoster (shingles) virus. [1] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source This PHN pain occurs in the areas on the body where the shingles rash was present. Generally, this pain follows a nerve’s path on one side of the body. While a painful, itchy blistering rash is the main characteristic of shingles, this nerve pain may precede its appearance. Quite frequently, the earliest symptom of shingles is a burning or tingling sensation on the skin. Experts note that the best way to treat this nerve pain is to heal your shingles, control your pain, and decrease your risk of complications. [2] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source

Burning, Lingering Pain After Shingles? 5 Options May Help You

Dealing with a case of shingles is painful enough. But once the skin rash resolves, a chronic pain syndrome called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) can sometimes develop.

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Studies suggest that roughly 30% to 60% of people over age 60 who get shingles — caused by the chickenpox virus, herpes zoster — go on to develop PHN.

A mysterious condition

Many things remain a mystery about this chronic condition, in which the herpes zoster virus affects the nerves and causes pain, usually involving the chest wall. It causes a burning or stabbing sensation in the area where the shingles outbreak first occurred.

“We don’t know why some people get post-herpetic neuralgia and some don’t,” says pain management specialist Ellen Rosenquist, MD. “There’s plenty of speculation. The nerves may become more sensitive, or the virus may be reaching and damaging the central nervous system.”

Help is available for PHN

Fortunately, early treatment for shingles can lower your chances of getting PHN.

“For some people, the pain becomes refractory, or resistant to treatment,” explains Dr. Rosenquist. “So we want to treat shingles as fast as we can — ideally as soon as somebody feels a tingling or burning sensation, even before a rash develops.”

She adds that whenever nerve pain is involved, some people respond to treatment and some don’t. (The virus cannot be removed from the nerves.)

However, medications taken orally or injected that can target the affected nerves may be able to “stun” the nervous system into behaving properly. That means transmitting the appropriate signal to the brain.

‘Rebooting’ the nervous system

“It’s like restarting a computer,” Dr. Rosenquist says. “When it’s running slowly or acting weird, you restart it. We are trying to turn that nerve off. When it comes back on, hopefully it will send an appropriate transmission as opposed to a pain transmission.”

Treatment options for PHN patients include:

  1. Intercostal nerve blocks: A local anesthetic can be injected between two ribs.
  2. Thoracic epidural injections: Anti-inflammatory medicine can be injected into the space around the spinal cord to decrease nerve root inflammation and reduce pain.
  3. Tricyclic antidepressants: Medications such as amitriptyline may be used to relieve pain.
  4. Membrane stabilizers: Medications such as gabapentin can be used to reduce the pain associated with PHN.
  5. Capsaicin cream: This topical cream can be applied to the affected area to relieve pain temporarily.

Patients with refractory PHN rarely need opioid (narcotic) pain medication. “However, you should be evaluated by a physician. We can’t make a blanket statement about treatment. It is individualized,” she says.

A word about the shingles vaccine

If you are age 60 or over and have not had shingles, talk to your doctor about getting the shingles vaccine. Not only will it reduce your risk of developing shingles, but if you do develop shingles, you’ll be more likely to have a mild case. And, just as important, you’ll be much less likely to develop PHN if you’ve had the vaccine.

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I am normally a healthy adult, mid-40s, who rarely gets sick but was going through a period of high stress and started feeling an annoying poking pain in my back. It started presenting a week later as a handful of sores in an area about an inch wide. I quickly went to my local nurse practitioner, who prescribed Valtrex and said to get it right away. I went to my local pharmacy, took it immediately, and the problem quickly went away. The sores scabbed and disappeared over a couple of months, but the pain and flu-like symptoms were gone almost immediately. I guess I was lucky that this wasn’t so bad. Maybe the minimum age to get the shingles shot should be 40, not 50?

I got shingle i went alest 3 week my wife thought it was posion ivy .went to emergency room i a world of hurt it started mid chest and wrapped around to my spine it was the most painful thing i ever been threw two week late had stress test they said i had a heart of a lion a week later had heart attack renal failure and septis and severe dehydration on a cellular level woke to priest reading me my last rights sat told the priest you have the wrong room the shingles were telling something bad was going on was weight lifter i artery was 4x larger and 3 were 90 persent clogged they had to look in artery with scope to see what was wrong Thank GOD and great drs @ holmes regional

Can acylover be replaced by xifaxan? because my doctor did ,due to having constant diarehea already for 10 years.

Just went to my grocery store and got the vaccination. No biggie. However, Zostavax only has a 50% prevention rate based on CDC, but that’s better than no percentage.

My husband just died of a myocardial infraction(Jan23,2016). There was no warning he was 57 yrs old .Autopsy revealed ischemic heart disease. He had Shingles in late Sept. I am at a loss in more way than you can imagine…

My husband just died of a myocardial infarction, Jan 23 2016. No warnings… He was 57yrs old. autopsy revealed
ischemic heart disease. He had shingles late Sept. Would that contributed to his death? I’m at a loss in more ways than I can describe.

Dawn Iam sorry for your loss

In 1st week of January,2016 I had a *Strange Pain in middle of Back and thought it was “L-3” acting up!? I went to my. Primary Dr & he just prescribed “Prednisone”?! I have had it before & didn’t want to take it! That was on *Fri. Jan. 8, & then next day, which was a Saturday -Jan.9th The Weird type of “Burning, Painful to even fabric touching it & it had started going around left to end at my *Navel. It was half way roung my waist So after procastinating I went to “ER at 7:30 that night! The *Nurse-Practitioner looked at my waist which had no *Redness, Rash or Pimples. I’m trying to describe the *Strange Invisible Pain Thinking maybe it was something inside?! But, She Had Said after taking my Age, The fact I had. “ChickenPox at age 4, and She Said it Sounded like the Early Stage of **Shingles. She had **Blood Work Done & Prescribed “Acyclovir 800mg-to be taken **5 times daily! I Left & Walgreens Pharmacy was open so filled it and took one that night! I had an “lumbar Epidural For Sciatica scheduled for Jan 12th & Had to Cancel Due to AntiViral Meds and I must be in **Excellent Health when I Get The Epidural!! So, I kept taking the 5 “Horse Pills” daily But by Wednesday-Jan 12-** after 3 days on “Acyclovir 800mg, 5 times daily-*I was Hit with a Daily Colon CleansIing! Like when you prep for **Colonoscopy?! It was so Bad, I Almost lived in the **Bathroom!! It was also very painful in large Intestine & Colon!! By Sat. Jan 16 finished Antiviral Meds & Never Devveloped any Redness, Rash or Pimples & The Burning “Nerve Pain Went away”. Now, got my “Epidural on Feb. 8,2016, and I was told to get **Shingles Vaccine after My Symptoms went away?? But, I don’t know if I have to wait for a certain time after my **Epidural Due to “Immune System Complications? But, I lucked out & caught the **Shingles before it did any Damage! Last thing need is “Full Blown Shingles and Lasting **Nerve Pain! That along with **Sciatica Pain Would Be A – Fate I Wouldn’t Want to Live With!!” So, Now you know how my First month of 2016 Was Any Thoughts on **Shingles Vaccine?? They said I Could Get it AGAIN. Help?

Lucky you that you laid off the prednisone. Taking that would’ve suppressed your immune system and given you a full blown case of shingles that would’ve been a bear to manage!

I got shingles in my eye at 40years old, now I have a scar in the center of my eye (lost a lot of my vision).

What about using whole cayenne pepper?

The primary pain-relieving ingredient in cayenne is capsaicin. Capsaicin creams and patches use formulations with precise percentages to help control the “hot” reactions that raw cayenne pepper can cause.

Whole cayenne pepper can result in skin reactions, depending on the person and skin type. But this doesn’t mean that everyone will have a bad reaction to whole cayenne. Herbalists have been using cayenne plasters for centuries.

Cayenne plasters are made by sprinkling a little cayenne pepper on a wet towel and then applying the towel to the skin with a wrap. Before this is done, it is important that the skin is tested with a small amount of the pepper. This is best done by an herbalist.

Clinical studies have shown that cayenne plasters are useful for pain. For example, a 2006 study from South Korea tested 108 children following inguinal hernia repair. They applied either a cayenne plaster or a placebo during their rehabilitation. They found the cayenne (capsicum) plaster significantly reduced post-op pain for the children when applied six hours or later after the operation.

Other herbalists have simply made creams with cayenne together with other compounds like aloe and calendula.

Note also that cayenne pepper and capsaicin can burn if they are accidentally rubbed into the eyes. For this reason, washing the hands after handling a patch or cream is imperative.

That isn’t to say that cayenne cannot be utilized internally. Herbalists have been recommending whole cayenne pepper internally for pain for centuries. The typical recommendation for cayenne for pain is to consume the whole herb powder (red pepper powder) with a soothing juice such as carrot juice. Better is to use cayenne in a capsule or even wrapped in a rice paper film with the carrot juice. Enteric capsules can be used to deliver more to the intestines.

Cayenne in these forms can indeed reduce neuropathic pain when taken internally. The use of skin patches and creams simply absorbs the capsaicin through the skin. Capsaicin can also be absorbed through the stomach and intestinal walls.

For example, cayenne has also been shown to reduce intestinal pain and cramping when taken internally. A 2011 study of 50 patients with IBS found that enteric-coated cayenne pills significantly reduced IBS abdominal pain.

Talk to your doctor first about using capsaicin or cayenne for pain.

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Drug Treatments

Antidepressants may be prescribed to an individual suffering from postherpetic neuralgia even if that individual exhibits no signs of actual depression. Antidepressants are a powerful tool in combating postherpetic neuralgia because they act on the brain's chemistry by regulating the chemicals that control pain signals, serotonin and norepinephrine. Anticonvulsants, commonly prescribed to people who suffer from seizures, can also help reduce postherpetic neuralgia. Oxycodone drugs, such as Oxycontin, are powerful painkillers that may also be prescribed. Lidocaine skin patches may also help if applied to the afflicted area.

Study: Shingles may be side effect of COVID-19 vaccine

(WHDH) — The development of shingles is one side effect that could be linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new study.

Researchers recently identified herpes zoster — also known as shingles — as a possible side effect after six people with autoimmune inflammatory diseases received the Pfizer vaccine, according to findings published in the British Society of Rheumatology.

Herpes zoster developed in patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome, researchers said.

Five patients developed the infection after their first vaccine dose, while one patient developed it after their second dose, according to the study. The other five patients completed the second vaccine dose without other adverse effects.

In the majority of cases, the infection was mild, researchers noted.

Immunosuppressed individuals were not included in initial COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.

Researchers noted that additional epidemiologic studies on the safety of the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines in patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases are needed to clarify the association with the reactivation of herpes zoster.

(Copyright (c) 2021 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Life With — and After — Shingles

For people like Karen Greenberg, shingles is a debilitating virus with life-changing consequences.

For Karen Greenberg, it all began with a pea-sized lump in her armpit. Greenberg’s dermatologist diagnosed folliculitis, or an infected hair follicle. A few days later, a similar lump appeared on her forehead. A visit to the doctor revealed that Greenberg had shingles, a painful virus that strikes nearly one million Americans every year.

“I had heard of shingles, but… figured I didn’t need to worry about it until I was much older,” said Greenburg, 38, who was diagnosed two years ago.

Shingles is brought on by the same herpes zoster virus that causes chickenpox. Once a person develops chickenpox, the virus can lay dormant for years and suddenly “reactivate” as shingles. Like chickenpox, shingles produces fluid-filled blisters, but the rash will follow a nerve on one side of the body and cause intense pain.

“People really don’t know how painful it is until they get it themselves, or a close friend or relative gets it,” said Kristin Englund, MD, a member of the department of infectious disease at the Cleveland Clinic. “It’s not just an irritating rash you have for a week or two. It’s very painful and debilitating.”

Aside from the rash, Greenberg had a “headache, non-stop” for nearly five weeks. She developed a severe side effect, postherpetic neuralgia, which causes pain in the area of the infected nerves that can last for months or years.

“Shingles is portrayed as a rash that’s painful, but the full impact isn’t explained,” said Greenberg, who lives in Arizona.

Shingles typically affects older people, but it can strike at any age. Patients with weakened immune systems from leukemia, cancer, or HIV are especially susceptible. It’s not contagious to people who have had chickenpox, but the herpes zoster virus can be spread to someone who has never had chickenpox.

Antiviral medications can shorten the duration of the rash, but there is no treatment for eliminating the virus. Home remedies such as wet compresses, calamine lotion, and oatmeal baths may help ease the pain associated with the rash.

Having shingles doesn’t guarantee immunity from a recurrence. “The body does somewhat immunize itself against shingles, but there is a risk of getting it again,” said Dr. Englund. “We still recommend all people over the age of 60 get the shingles vaccine, whether they’ve had [shingles] or not.”

Zostavax, a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration for people 50 and older, has been shown to provide some protection against shingles and reduce the risk of postherpetic neuralgia.

“Most vaccines are designed to prevent germs from infecting a person,” said Sharon Humiston, MD, associate director for research at the Immunization Action Coalition and professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. “The shingles vaccine is designed to fight off flare-ups of a virus that already infected the person years ago. So the shingles vaccine has a much harder job, in a certain sense.”

Greenberg hopes that having her two daughters vaccinated against chickenpox will lower their chances of getting shingles later on. “At the time, I thought I was giving my daughters immunity against an irritating and annoying virus that every kid of my generation dealt with,” said Greenberg. “I didn’t realize how serious chickenpox was, much less shingles, and then I didn’t even know what shingles was.”

For Greenberg, the lingering effects of shingles make everyday tasks more challenging. The nerve damage in her feet prevents her going to the gym six days a week like she used to, but she’s discovered a passion for disc golf. After only being able to wear athletic shoes, she recently found a pair of regular shoes that are comfortable.

“I literally cried on the way home from buying these shoes,” she said. “To be able to dress with confidence will mean so much to me.”

Herbal Treatments that DID Work for Me


Initially, the most effective treatment is very counterintuitive — moxibustion. That clears up the blisters rather quickly. Still, not the blisters but the postherpetic pain is the problem and comes from damaged nerve endings randomly misfiring. It can feel at once, burning, cutting, gripping, etc. After a while, the pain affects every aspect of your life.

One of the most important points I want to share from my bout with postherpetic neuralgia is the accidental discovery of a substance that no one has thus far suggested that amazing brought the most immediate pain relief. It is a cream whose main constituent was the oil from the nut of the famous East Indian Ayurvedic Neem tree, Azidirachta indica. I’ve already written an extensive blog on the remarkable medicinal use of this tree, which occupies a prominent place in nearly every Indian village where it is known as “the medicine tree” because it is good for so many conditions, including the twigs being chewed and used to clean the teeth and heal gingivitis.

I know that neem oil is indicated for every skin disease and even to kill skin parasites. However, I wasn’t sure whether at the stage of the disease I had, it would be effective. Nevertheless, when one is desperate enough, and I got to that stage a few times during the course of this condition, one will try anything. So I applied an excellent neem cream called Theraneem. I usually try not to promote products on my blogs but this was so effective in providing immediate relief that I feel it deserves to be recommended for the thousands of people suffering from this horrible condition, many of whom have it much worse than I. Not one of the therapists, alternative and conventional, who recommended their best treatments mentioned neem, which may be the most effective.

There’s some theory behind the use of neem for those who are interested. One of the downsides of neem oil is the odor which after a while gets obnoxious to those who come near as well as the one who has it on. Theraneem, to my senses, seems to deal with this problem very effectively with the addition of some wonderful fragrant essential oils (not the usual lavender which is also overused), but oils of ylang ylang and orange which seemed just right.

After applying the cream for only five minutes, I felt a cooling and soothing immediate relief of the postherpetic neuralgic pains. I was amazed and proceeded to look up shingles pain and neem oil and found many references for its efficacy for this condition. One in particular describes how “Neem’s ability to surround viruses and prevent them from entering and infecting cells makes it one of the few agents capable of relieving shingles.” This so perfectly explains why neem, with its pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory and unique antiviral properties worked so well for me. I apply it several times throughout the day. Best of all, it was clear what worked and the relief was immediate.

I do think (hope) that my shingles case is gradually lessening with some days being better than others. But I’m seeing longer periods of greatly reduced pain. I hope my discovery of what works for me will help others suffering from this awful condition.

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My further experiences self-treating my own bad case of shingles. I strongly recommend acupuncture treatments. Lots of them close together — as much as three or four times a week.

Following is based on Brad Wishnant’s “Top Tung Acupuncture points” (
The most effective treatment Protocols found is Tung’s magic points for relieving post hepatic neuralgia affecting the right abdomen and side was Tung’s series of three points called Wai San Guan (Outer Three Gates) (77.27). They are located on the line that connects the head of the fibula and the lateral malleolus. They are located 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 units perpendicular insertion on the tibis, on the gallbladder channel. The needles should go deep and tap the tibia for best results. 1 to 1.5 cun deep.

These points dispel all types of wind manifesting as either heat or cold in the affected tissues. They move Qi and blood, unblocks the channels and collaterals, stops pain. They are effective for all types of trauma, pain or injury, regardless of the location and are very effective for systemic pain, blockage, or trauma.

They are very effective for shingles, rib pain, chest pain and gallbladder and liver issues. They can be used to relieve the pain associated with cancer.