Your doctor may prescribe oxycodone in the form of Percocet or OxyContin or tramadol in the form of Ultram for treatment of shingles pain, but these powerful pain killing drugs are narcotics and can only be taken for short durations due to the risk of addiction. Lidocaine patches for the skin may give localized relief, but are short term and cannot be used on the face.
Antidepressants such as Norpramin, Pamelor and Cymbalta are sometimes prescribed, even though the patient may not be depressed. According to the Mayo Clinic, it has been found that these medications affect certain brain chemical such as norepinephrine and serotonin, which determine how your brain interprets pain.
Some anticonvulsants, normally prescribed for seizures, are effective in lessening the pain of postherpetic neuralgia after shingles. These medications stabilize the electrical activity of the brain and can help control pain and the burning sensation associated with a bout of shingles.
Corticosteroids are sometimes injected into the spinal cord region in order to block the persistent pain that can occur for months after a shingles outbreak. This treatment is generally used after the skin rash outbreak has subsided.
Some patients may find relief from pain by using nerve stimulation, either through use of a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit which involves adhering electrodes to the affected area or through the use of peripheral nerve stimulation, in which the electrodes are implanted directly beneath the skin. Both methods deliver electrical impulses to nearby nerve pathways, but are not effective for all patients.