Shingles Support Society - Herpes Viruses Association (2023)

Click through to our new stand-alone website with much more information – including a news page and more self-help ideas. It replaces this page.

This page has information on shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), what causes them, what treatments there are – and how to prevent getting shingles (the vaccination). Please click down to see
Shingles – Questions and Answers
Post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) – Questions and Answers
Information on the vaccine to prevent shingles (Zostavax)
Notes for patients from Dr Mike Serpell – as a PDF file
Guidelines for doctors from Dr Mike Serpell – as a PDF file
Help the Shingles Support Society to continue to help people
Links to pain organisations
About the new shingles vaccine, Zostavax
NEWS: Get involved in research/A survey/See European pain event
Answer questions about how you manage pain

The shingles page was reviewed on 28th March 2017.

Send a donation (at least £2.50 please) for the full 17 page information pack: Shingles Support Society, 41 North Road, London N7 9DP or phone the office between 10 am and 8 pm with a credit or debit card. You can order this pack on-line.

This printed pack includes the treatment guidelines for post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) by pain expert Dr Mike Serpell which are summarised on this web page, two pages of self-help advice from other sufferers, a contact list of names/addresses of other people who’d like to share experiences of shingles, and information on TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) machines, and more…

People who are blind or partially sighted can receive this information on a cassette: send a donation (at least £2.50 please) or phone 020 7607 9661 to order this with a credit or debit card.

A new vaccine programme is being rolled out for people in their 70s. Read more below.


1 – What is shingles?
Shingles (herpes varicella-zoster) is a reappearance of chickenpox. This is often many years after the original chickenpox infection.

2 – What does shingles look like?

Shingles is a blistery skin rash. Most often, shingles appears on one side of the trunk or torso, front and back, in the area served by one main nerve (known as a dermatome). Occasionally it occurs elsewhere on the body or on the face.

Red patches are usually the first sign of the rash appearing, and possibly:

  • Itching, tingling or burning under the skin.
  • Pain often occurs around the area of nerve distribution, usually on one side of the trunk or torso, sometimes elsewhere on the body.
  • Some people may feel very tired or may develop a slight temperature.
  • Fluid filled blisters appear. These then burst, weep and turn into sores. They may not come up all at once, but can form and slowly heal over a period of 2 to 5 weeks. The skin then crusts over and heals, leaving a little sensitivity or ‘nerve ache’ which soon disappears. This signals the end of the shingles for many people.

3 – Who can get shingles?
Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles. Most people have chickenpox in childhood: it is one of the common childhood illnesses and is usually trivial. (Chickenpox in adults can be more serious; the symptoms may be more pronounced.)

Shingles can happen at any age, but is more likely to occur in older people

People who have not had chickenpox cannot get shingles. (Some people with shingles claim that they have never had chickenpox. This means that their original case of chickenpox was mild and not diagnosed at the time – or they have simply forgotten because it was such a long time ago.)

4 – Is shingles common?

By the age of 85, around 60% of us will have had shingles at least once. About 224,000 people in the UK get shingles every year. About 60,000 people of these are affected by post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) – that’s just over a quarter.

5 – How do people get shingles?
After a chickenpox infection, the virus retreats to a ‘junction box’ in the nerves beside the spine. It remains there in a dormant state for the rest of your life. Something ‘triggers’ the virus to reactivate (perhaps when you are run down or unwell, but no one really knows why) and it reappears as shingles.

(Video) The Human Herpes Viruses

There is a new vaccine to prevent shingles.

6 – Is shingles infectious (catching)?

People do not catch shingles – it happens to people who have previously been infected with chickenpox.

Shingles is infectious for people who have not had chickenpox – but they have to touch the rash to catch the virus. They will then develop chickenpox. People who have had chickenpox already are not at risk.

When people who have had chickenpox encounter people with the disease again, it increases their immunity and means they are less likely to develop shingles.

WORK or SCHOOL: A person can only catch chickenpox by touching the shingles sores, so when shingles is covered by clothing/bandage, there is no risk of infection to others.

7 – Can shingles be treated?
A doctor may prescribe Zovirax (aciclovir), Valtrex or Famvir tablets. If treatment is started within 72 hours, this usually reduces the severity of the episode. It is important to visit the doctor as soon as you become aware of the first symptoms of shingles so that treatment can be started immediately.

Even without treatment, shingles will heal. It is not possible to tell how ill a person is going to be, or for how long they will feel unwell.

8 – What can I do to help myself to recover?
Keep the sores clean, but do not use scented soaps or bath oils and do not rub too hard as this will delay healing.

Some people find it soothing to apply wrapped ice cubes to the skin. They should be well wrapped in a flannel or tea-towel and placed in a plastic bag (to avoid dripping). A pack of frozen peas wrapped in a towel is an alternative.

You can also try a soothing lotion (such as calamine).

Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes preferably in a natural fibre such as cotton.

People who are ill often lose their appetite but it is important to eat nutritious food to keep your strength up and help your body to recover. Soups and protein drinks may be easier to consume if solid food does not appeal.

9 – Can you get shingles in the eye?
Rarely, shingles can occur inside the eye. This must be treated with antiviral medication, as if untreated the eye may be damaged.

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Post herpetic neuralgia (PHN)

1 – What is PHN like?
PHN can be felt as “itching”, “irritation,” “burning,” “tingling,” “supersensitivity,” “numbness” or “soreness” but to simplify our text we will always call it “pain”.

2 – When does PHN happen?
It may begin as the acute symptoms of shingles subside and can last a few weeks, months or occasionally years. It can even appear several weeks or even months after the shingles has gone.

(Video) Herpes (oral & genital) - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

3 – Why does PHN happen?
PHN happens when the chickenpox virus damages a nerve during the shingles outbreak. The function of the damaged nerve becomes abnormal. This is shown by the loss of ordinary sensation, but changes also seem to occur in the spinal cord or central nervous system. The possibility of developing PHN after shingles increases as people get older.

4 – Is PHN common?
About 60,000 people of the people who get shingles each year are then affected by post herpetic neuralgia (PHN). This is about one in four of the total number of people who get shingles.

5 – How can PHN be treated?
Ordinary painkillers have little effect on PHN so if you find that the pain is intense, you may want to ask your doctor for a prescription for a stronger painkiller while you are waiting for the treatments shown below to take effect.

One recent trial found that controlled-release morphine 91 mg or methadone 15 mg “effectively relieved pain” and did not cause fuzziness, (unlike the tricyclic antidepressants mentioned in 5.1 below).

Other treatments that your doctor could prescribe are listed below: these all take some time (3 or 4 weeks) for the full effect to be noticed, so do not give up too soon. Axsain chilli pepper cream and Versatis plasters (also on prescription) are alternatives for people with an intolerance to some tablets. See ‘Introduction to medical treatments’ by Dr Serpell, in the full pack for more details about these.

5.1 – Amitriptyline (or nortriptyline) is often used to treat PHN. It works by building a pain block. Such drugs were first sold as antidepressants, but pain relief is now their main use. You may notice drowsiness and/or a sensation of ‘dry mouth.’ Start at a very low dose of 10 mg and gradually increase weekly to a therapeutic dose of 30 mg or 75 mg.

‘Dry mouth’ can be alleviated by sips of water or fruit juice, or by sucking a sweet or mint. (NB you can buy sugar-free or diabetic sweets if you are controlling your weight.) These side effects will wear off when you’re used to the treatment. As Mrs S. reported: “… it did ease the dreadful pain. I had one or two side effects when taking the pills but I could cope with them – to ease the pain was the main thing and amitriptyline did that.”

5.2 – Anti-epileptic drugs: Gabapentin has been shown to be an effective way to block PHN. Start with a low dose, and increase to about 400 mg three times a day. It does not interfere with other medication and has few side effects even with dosage as high as 800 mg three times a day.

Pregabalin is in the same class of drug as gabapentin and is also effective in relieving pain and improving sleep for people with PHN. 75 mg taken every 12 hours is a reasonable starting dose for the average adult. It may be increased up to 300mg twice a day if you need it.

5.3 – Axsain cream (made from chilli peppers or ‘capsaicin’) may help as a pain block treatment. It is rubbed in, near the place where the nerves are itching/painful, that is, in the same dermatome region. If the pain is near your eye or under your hair, you can rub the cream on your cheek well away from your eyelid, or on your forehead. Use a small (pea sized) amount 3 or 4 times a day for about 3 weeks. It stops the pain for seven out of ten people.

Since Axsain cream can ‘burn,’ some people rub in an anaesthetic (numbing) cream about 15 minutes before applying Axsain. This is ‘lidocaine BP’ which can be bought without prescription as a 2% gel or a 5% ointment. If your chemist doesn’t have it in stock, it can be ordered and costs around £10.00. Lidocaine 10% spray can be bought under the brand name Xylocaine for around £10. Your doctor can prescribe it.

5.4 – Versatis plasters are large ‘patches’ which can be prescribed for PHN. These are made with a special gel allowing the active ingredient, lidocaine, to seep into the skin. They are worn for 12 hours (day or night as preferred) on or near the painful area. The skin is uncovered the other 12 hours so that it can breathe. Versatis plasters are particularly useful for people who don’t want to take too many tablets.

6 – What about strong painkillers?

If your PHN is particularly intense, and if the treatments above are not helping enough, then stronger painkillers may be prescribed by your doctor for a short time.

6.1 Tramadol

Tramadol is a weak opioid and one study has suggested it can help PHN but only alongside the other therapies shown.

6.2 Strong opioids

(Video) 3 Common Types of Herpes Viruses in Humans

There is evidence that use of strong opioids in PHN is beneficial in relieving pain and is well tolerated. One study has suggested strong opioids produced comparable pain relief and improvement in sleep compared to drugs such as amitriptyline but there is an increased risk of side-effects.

7 – What can I do to help myself?
The Shingles Support Society’s 17 page information pack includes 2 pages of “Readers’ Tips” – suggestions from others who are living with PHN. There are alternative ways of dealing with pain. Some of these have not been proved scientifically, so we cannot endorse them, but there are studies showing that many people find them helpful. For instance, if your pain is eased when you press your hand against it, then a firm bandage pressed on the area might be helpful.

Send a donation (at least £3.50 please) for the full 17 page information pack: Shingles Support Society, 41 North Road, London N7 9DP or phone the office 10 am to 8 pm with a credit or debit card.

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8 – Could a TENS machine help?
TENS machines transmit very low voltage electrical impulses to a small area. This is felt as a buzzing sensation and it can prevent the nerves from sending pain messages to the brain. Many people find this helpful. You may be able to try this at a Pain Clinic. You can buy a TENS. Some suppliers allow you to send it back if it does not help for a refund, minus postage costs. Check with the supplier first.

9 – Should I have an operation to sever the nerve?

This is occasionally suggested but is not guaranteed to help. In many cases, cutting the affected nerve does not cure the pain of PHN. In a similar way, amputees, who have many severed nerves, may still ‘feel’ pain that seems to come from a limb that is no longer there.

10 – Can I contact others with the same problem?
The Shingles Support Society’s 17 page information pack includes a list of patients like you with PHN who would like to hear from other people. Often communicating with someone else who knows what it feels like can be helpful and reassuring. Please let us know if you would like to be added to the list. Send a small donation to the Shingles Support Society, 41 North Road, London N7 9DP or phone the office 10 am to 8 pm with a credit or debit card.

11 – Could I be referred to a Pain Clinic?
Your doctor could refer you to a pain clinic: either NHS or private. If you send your postcode to British Pain Society, Churchill House, 35 Red Lion Square, London WC1R – or [emailprotected] – it can send you details of your nearest NHS clinic and a copy of the booklet ‘Understanding & Managing Long-term Pain’.

12 – Are there other organisations that can help? Links are:
Pain Support has a forum where you can post items to ‘talk’ to other pain sufferers.
Pain Concern is a self-help charity with a lot of helpful articles and radio programme audio files. Check their resources: listen to talks or read transcripts.
The British Holistic Medical Association has a free audio file by James Hawkins that you can listen to called ‘Coping with Persistent Pain’.

13 – Vaccine to prevent shingles

Since September 2013 there has been a shingles vaccination programme for older people. It is being introduced in phases. The shingles vaccine (Zostavax®) is available for those who are 70 to 79 years old.

The NHS encourages people in their seventies to take advantage of it. Ask your GP about if is you have not been offered it.
Private clinics and hospitals can vaccinate people over 60 years old, but you should expect to pay around £150 (or more).

Answer questionnaires?

Other news

European pain event – Brussels May 2016
Our director, Marian Nicholson, was very involved in the two-day conference on Societal Impact of Pain. On day one, the meeting took place in the EU parliament building, where she explained to camera why getting the right treatment – and fast was so important to the patient and to society. And the Shingles Support Society features in the SIP booklet.

There is now real interest at European level in getting to grips with chronic pain and what that means for the individual and for society as a whole. See a comment by a leading MEP here.

One: Ramsay Hunt Society has a survey for people who develop this facial problem: click here.

Two: Dr Paul Chazot ([emailprotected]) would like to find out what helps and hinders people from managing their pain. His team has devised a short electronic questionnaire for those with long term pain. There are only a few questions and only takes a couple of minutes to do. This is all collected anonymously so you do not have to submit any personal details about yourself.

The questionnaire can be found at:

(Video) Best Anti-Virals for Shingles, Herpes & Epstein Barr Virus

If you would like more information before you go to the questionnaire, see a recording of their recent public engagement event which is focused on strategies to cope with long-term at:

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Help the Shingles Support Society

The Shingles Support Society is a sub-group of the Herpes Viruses Association (HVA) a registered charity, offering support to patients. It was set up in response to a bequest received to help people with shingles and PHN. As a voluntary organisation, we depend to a great extent on your donations to enable us to continue to serve the community – we rely on your generosity.

Please would you make a donation? Any amount will help, no matter how small. Cash, cheques or postal orders (made out to SSS) will help to ensure our work continues. Or phone the office from 10 am till 8 pm with a credit or debit card.

Shingles Support Society - Herpes Viruses Association (1)

You can also text HVA£10 (or any amount) and text to 70085. Thank you!

Or use the MyDonate button, the donate page.

Perhaps you would consider making a legacy. Thank you!

Marian Nicholson, Director

We know that many people leave money to charities in their wills. We would really appreciate it if you would consider this kind of donation. If you already have a will, you can leave something to the Shingles Support Society in a codicil, that is an addition to your existing will. This is easier (and cheaper) than getting a whole new will.

We were left money by Mr Stone, whose son informed us: “My father found the information that you supplied made such a difference to his quality of life in his final years that he wants others to benefit as well.”

Mrs Scott’s church arranged a special collection for us in her memory and donated it to our charity. We were very touched.

Mr Goldman asked the Rotary Club he was very involved with to send the money raised when he died to us: “The Shingles Support Society is my favourite charity” he told them.

As a registered charity (no. 291657) we submit details annually to the Charity Commission so that it can ensure that we are fulfilling our constitutional ‘statement of aims’. You can be sure that your legacy would go to help spread information about treatments for PHN and the new vaccine to everyone who needs it.

Shingles Support Society - Herpes Viruses Association (2)
This page was written under the Information Standard rules. It was issued on 29/10/2015 and will be reviewed no later than 29/10/2018. Full references for the statements made can be sent on request. [Age for shingles vaccine changed September 2016 and 2017.]

The Information Standard states: The HVA shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information they publish and neither the Scheme Operator nor the Scheme Owner shall have any responsibility whatsoever for costs, losses or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of the HVA. Disclaimer: note that the blog and other personal experience stories are excluded from the scope of IS certification.

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(Video) Shingles - what's all the fuss?


Is shingles affiliated with herpes? ›

Shingles is more common in older adults and in people who have weakened immune systems. Varicella-zoster is part of a group of viruses called herpes viruses. This is the same group that includes the viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes. As a result, shingles is also known as herpes zoster.

Can Shingrix cause herpes outbreak? ›

Although clinical trials didn't report herpes zoster reactivation involving the skin as one of the side effects, two case reports mentioned typical skin rash of herpes zoster that occurred a few days after Shingrix vaccine.

Does the shingles vaccine help with herpes? ›

Does the herpes zoster vaccine protect you from genital herpes? No. The herpes zoster vaccine protects you against shingles (herpes zoster), a viral infection that is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. 14 There is currently no vaccine to protect against genital or oral herpes.

Is chickenpox or shingles part of the herpes family? ›

Varicella-zoster is a herpes virus that causes chickenpox, a common childhood illness. It is highly contagious.

Are shingles chicken pox and herpes related? ›

Chickenpox and Shingles are infections caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV), a member of the herpes virus family. This family includes the Herpes Simplex virus (HSV) which causes genital and oral (cold sores) herpes.

Will there be a herpes cure in 2023? ›

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there is no cure for herpes as of April 21, 2023. However, the use of antiviral medicines shortens herpes outbreaks.

How close are we to a herpes cure? ›

It will still take a long time before these experiments lead to the first human trials of gene therapy to cure herpes. Jerome estimates that will be at least three years away. Herpes simplex viruses afflict billions of human beings around the globe.

Who shouldn't get shingles vaccine? ›

Who Should Not Get Shingrix. People with a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any component of the vaccine or after a previous dose of Shingrix. People who currently have shingles, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, should wait to get Shingrix.

Has anyone ever gotten rid of herpes? ›

There is currently no cure or preventive treatment for herpes infection. If a person gets either form of herpes virus infection, they will have it for life, whether or not they experience symptoms.

Should you get Shingrix if you have herpes? ›

Timing Considerations for Giving Shingrix

There is no specific amount of time you need to wait before administering Shingrix to patients who have had herpes zoster. However, you should not give Shingrix to patients who are experiencing an acute episode of herpes zoster.

Should I get the shingles vaccine if I take Valtrex? ›

Yes. Acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir are antiviral drugs that are active against herpesviruses. These drugs will have no effect on Shingrix, which does not contain live varicella virus.

What kind of leg pain does herpes cause? ›

Recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes are common, and many patients who recognize recurrences have prodromal symptoms, either localized genital pain, or tingling or shooting pains in the legs, hips or buttocks, which occur hours to days before the eruption of herpetic lesions.

What can be mistaken for herpes? ›

Herpes symptoms can be mistaken for many other things, including:
  • A different STI which causes visible lesions, such as Syphilis or genital warts (HPV)
  • Irritation caused by shaving.
  • Ingrown hairs.
  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Pimples.
  • Yeast infections.
  • Haemorrhoids.
  • Bug bites.

What usually triggers shingles? ›

Causes of shingles

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which is the virus that causes chickenpox. After you have had chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus lies dormant (inactive) inside your body. It can become reactivated at a later stage and cause shingles.

Can I get shingles if I never had chickenpox? ›

The only way you can get shingles is if you've had chickenpox first. If someone has shingles and is at the blister stage when contagious, he or she could transmit the virus to you—but you would get chickenpox, not shingles.

Does the herpes virus live in everyone? ›

Most adults carry at least one form of herpes virus, if not more. You may also find comfort in knowing that when symptoms are present, the first outbreak is generally the most severe. Once the initial outbreak clears, you may not experience another flare-up for many months, if at all.

Can I sleep in the same bed as someone with shingles? ›

Shingles itself is not contagious. It can't spread from one person to another. However, the varicella-zoster virus is contagious. If you have shingles, you can pass the virus to another person, which could then cause them to develop chickenpox.

Why haven't we cured herpes? ›

The herpes virus has more complicated DNA than most infections and has ways to go undetected by our immune system, much like many cancer cells do. Since vaccines work by stimulating the human immune system, this makes it more difficult to develop an inoculation for herpes.

Why herpes is not a big deal? ›

Herpes isn't deadly and it usually doesn't cause any serious health problems. While herpes outbreaks can be annoying and painful, the first flare-up is usually the worst. For many people, outbreaks happen less over time and may eventually stop completely.

Do I have herpes forever now? ›

There is no cure, so people infected with herpes have it forever. Though the virus is rarely life-threatening for most people with it, it's extremely dangerous for pregnant women. A virus flare-up during pregnancy increases her risk of premature labor and an unborn baby can get a deadly infection in the womb.

Does herpes get worse with age? ›

It might be annoying, but herpes doesn't get worse over time or cause serious health problems like other STDs can. If you don't get treated for herpes, you might keep having regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while.

How do you keep herpes dormant? ›

How do you keep herpes dormant? Most people may never know that they are infected with a herpes virus, and often people do not have frequent outbreaks. However, people with frequent herpes outbreaks can keep the virus dormant or prevent an attack by taking suppressive antiviral medication.

What kills herpes virus on skin? ›

No drug can get rid of the herpes virus. However, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication, such as acyclovir, to prevent the virus from multiplying. Meanwhile, over-the-counter herpes treatments, often creams, can help manage tingling, itching, and pain.

What is the controversy with the Shingrix vaccine? ›

New Warning about Risk for GBS following Shingrix

FDA has required a new warning about GBS in the Prescribing Information for Shingrix as a result of new safety data from a postmarketing observational study. In the study, an increased risk of GBS was observed during the 42 days following vaccination with Shingrix.

Why don t doctors recommend shingles vaccine? ›

Zostavax has some inherent barriers that can dissuade seniors from getting innoculated. As a vaccine with a small amount of live herpes virus present, Zostavax is contraindicated for people with weakened immune systems, which may have limited the number of seniors who could receive it.

Is there a lawsuit against Shingrix? ›

August 18, 2021 Update: The shingles vaccine lawsuit in the MDL was originally filed on behalf of 22 plaintiffs. In August 2021, it is now over 2130. The first Zostavax trial will be on January 18, 2022. The outcome of this trial will have an impact on the ultimate settlement compensation payouts in these lawsuits.

Why is herpes so permanent? ›

Once a person becomes infected with a herpes virus, the virus never leaves the body. After the first outbreak, the virus moves from the skin cells to nerve cells. The virus stays in the nerve cells forever.

Is herpes on the decline? ›

It found that approximately 48% of all Americans were infected with HSV-1 and 12% with HSV-2 in 2015-16. This represents an 11.3 percentage point decrease in HSV-1 and a 5.9 percentage point decrease in HSV-2 since 1999.

Can I still receive oral with herpes? ›

Myth: If you have genital herpes you can't have (receive) oral sex. Fact about herpes: Herpes transmission to the mouth from the genitals is uncommon.

What is the difference between herpes simplex and herpes zoster? ›

The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes shingles, which is also known as herpes zoster. Conversely, the herpes simplex viruses (HSV) causes herpes. There are two types: type 1 HSV, which primarily appears as a rash on the face or mouth, and type 2 HSV, which mainly appears as a genital or rectal rash.

How do you treat shingles vs herpes? ›

Herpes cannot be cured but outbreaks can be treated with antiviral medications. The medications can also be taken daily to help prevent outbreaks. Shingles is caused by the same virus that gives you chickenpox. Once you get the shingles rash, it can be treated with antivirals like herpes.

How many times can you get shingles? ›

Most people who develop shingles have only one episode during their lifetime. However, you can have shingles more than once. If you have shingles, direct contact with the fluid from your rash blisters can spread VZV to people who have never had chickenpox or never received the chickenpox vaccine.

Do you have to take valacyclovir everyday for the rest of life? ›

This type of continuous treatment can be repeated if necessary. This type of daily treatment tends to be prescribed if you have frequent or severe recurrences of genital herpes more than six times per year. Suppressive treatment is valaciclovir 500mg taken daily.

What should I avoid while taking valacyclovir? ›

Some products that may interact with this drug include: other drugs that may cause kidney problems (including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen). Valacyclovir is very similar to acyclovir. Do not use medications containing acyclovir while using valacyclovir.

What can I take instead of Valtrex for shingles? ›

Famciclovir is another antiviral drug that's used for certain herpes infections. Unlike valacyclovir and acyclovir, which are usually prescribed for HSV-1 and HSV-2, famciclovir is typically used to treat shingles, or herpes zoster.

Can you get herpes zoster after shingles vaccine? ›

Can you still get shingles after the vaccine? According to the CDC, the Shingrix vaccine is about 90% effective. This means that the vaccine does not protect you 100% against shingles. Therefore, although rare, it is still possible to get shingles even after the shingles vaccine.

Can Shingrix vaccine cause blisters? ›

Thompson et al described a bullous rash 2 days after receiving the second dose of Shingrix vaccine. Another report mentioned a 74-year-old woman with known ulcerative colitis presenting with a blistering autoimmune skin reaction following Shingrix administration.

What is the syndrome that you can get from a shingles vaccine? ›

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a serious nervous system disorder, has been reported very rarely after Shingrix. There is also a very small increased risk of GBS after having shingles. If you experience side effects from Shingrix, you should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Can the shingles vaccine cause an autoimmune response? ›

Zoster vaccine is recommended to reduce the incidence of herpes zoster and its complication of postherpetic neuralgia in older adults. However, there have been reports of autoimmune side effects post vaccination.

Is Shingrix safe if you have herpes? ›

Timing Considerations for Giving Shingrix

There is no specific amount of time you need to wait before administering Shingrix to patients who have had herpes zoster. However, you should not give Shingrix to patients who are experiencing an acute episode of herpes zoster.

Should I get vaccinated if I already had shingles? ›

Answer: The Shingrix vaccine is recommended for adults 50 years of age and older, including those who have had shingles disease. You should wait at least 1 year before getting the vaccine after having shingles. If you had shingles in the past, getting the vaccine can help prevent future occurrences of the disease.

How did I get shingles if I never had chickenpox? ›

Most people who develop shingles have only one episode during their lifetime. However, you can have shingles more than once. If you have shingles, direct contact with the fluid from your rash blisters can spread VZV to people who have never had chickenpox or never received the chickenpox vaccine.

Can you get Shingrix while on Valtrex? ›

Yes. Acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir are antiviral drugs that are active against herpesviruses. These drugs will have no effect on Shingrix, which does not contain live varicella virus.

What are unusual reactions to Shingrix vaccine? ›

Severe allergic reactions to Shingrix are very rare. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.

Is second Shingrix shot worse than first? ›

People tend to experience side effects after the second dose of the vaccine and not the first. While people can experience symptoms after the first dose, it's not common. The second vaccine is considered the worst of the two.

Why was Shingrix recalled? ›

The company issued the voluntary recall early last year after one customer reported an empty antigen vial and another customer said there was an “abnormal appearance of the antigen powder in a vial,” a GSK spokesperson told Fierce Pharma. GSK's subsequent visual investigation determined both vials had cracks.

Is there a black box warning for Shingrix? ›

In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed a black-box warning for Shingrix, a non-live recombinant vaccine against the varicella-zoster virus, regarding a possible risk of acquiring GBS post-vaccination in adults aged 65 and older.

Why can't everyone get the shingles vaccine? ›

You should not have the shingles vaccine if you've had a serious allergic reaction (including an anaphylactic reaction) in the past to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine, or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, or to a previous dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.

What autoimmune disease is associated with shingles? ›

Is shingles an autoimmune disease? No. Shingles are caused by the reactivation of dormant varicella zoster and are a complication of having had chickenpox. It is not related to any autoimmune disease.

Can the Shingrix vaccine cause neuropathy? ›

Shingles Vaccine Zostavax Caused Peripheral Neuropathy, Lawsuit Alleges. The side effects of the singles vaccine Zostavax allegedly caused a Kentucky woman to develop painful and permanent nerve damage, known as peripheral neuropathy, according to a recently filed product liability lawsuit.


1. Marian NHS Choices
(Herpes Viruses Association)
2. Online Health Series: Signs and Symptoms of Shingles
(Renown Health)
3. Shingles found to be associated with heightened risk for stroke, heart attack Study
(Medical Dialogues)
4. How To Treat Herpes Infections Naturally
(Healthy Lifestyle Choices)
5. Shingles Q&A - with Dr. Abdullah
(Dr. Rob Swanda)
6. June 2018 ACIP Meeting - Mumps; Herpes Zoster; Public Comment
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC))
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