Treatment for Nerve Pain With Shingles

Main Treatment

The main treatment for shingles is antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir. While these medications do not specifically target pain, they do shorten the duration of symptoms, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Nerve Relief

Corticosteroid drugs are administered to control inflammation in nerves affected by VZV. This reduces pain and, according to the AAFP, may lower your chance of developing complications.


Based on the severity of your pain, your doctor may prescribe narcotic painkillers or recommend over-the-counter pain treatments, according to the AAFP.

Topical Agents

Topical agents---lidocaine and capsaicin---can also relieve the pain of shingles. The AAFP states that lidocaine is used while blisters are active, and capsaicin is used after the blisters have broken and formed a crust.


Pain that lasts even after the shingles rash has cleared is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). According to the Mayo Clinic, tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, prescription painkillers, nerve stimulation and lidocaine patches may be used to control sometimes chronic, severe pain caused by PHN.