Shingles Treatment Complications

Shingles is a virus which affects the nerve in the form of pain and the skin which surrounds the nerve with an itchy; the virus can affect anybody that has previously been exposed to chickenpox.

Chicken pox and shingles are caused by the same herpes varicella-zoster virus which remains dormant in the body’s nervous system after causing chickenpox; it is a reactivation of the virus which leads to shingles. Unfortunately there is no cure for the virus and shingles is required to run in course. The severity of the condition and how long it lasts can be helped along with various treatments; however, as with the majority of medication, shingles treatment complications are a factor.

Shingles medication complications

Shingles treatment complications will depend on the type of medication needed to treat the virus. The most commonly used medication are painkillers, the type of painkiller prescribed by a GP will depend on the pain being suffered by the patient.

In many cases, the use of over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are recommended; these tablets are enough to ease the mild to moderate pain being felt by a shingles sufferer. When taken as instructed, over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol will have no complications other than possible drowsiness, however, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may complications in the following circumstances:

  • If you currently have or have had in the past stomach or kidney problems such as a peptic ulcer
  • If you suffer from liver problems
  • If you have a respiratory problem such as asthma
  • If you are pregnant or currently breastfeeding


In cases of severe and prolonged pain a GP may prescribe the use of antidepressants, these drugs can be helpful in easing pain. The type of antidepressants used in cases of shingles are called tricyclic antidepressants and generally come in three varieties: amitriptyline, imipramine and nortriptyline. Although these drugs are given in a much lower dose than in cases of depression can still present shingles treatment complications such as the following side effects:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Constipation problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain


A medication known as anticonvulsants which are commonly used to help control seizures suffered by epilepsy patients can also be applied to shingles. Sufferers of the shingles virus can benefit from this type of medication as it is able to manage nerve pain by stabilising the nerve activity within the brain. The most commonly prescribed anticonvulsant is gabapentin and is required to be taken for several weeks before the benefits are realised. Patients will be a small dosage of the medication and this can be gradually increased by a GP if required. As with antidepressants, there are shingles treatment complications that people should be aware of when taking this medication. Common side effects will include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Swollen ankles
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhoea


Antiviral medication may be prescribed alongside painkillers to stop the shingles virus from multiplying. It is generally only the over 50’s that require this medication as the symptoms suffered by children and young adults are generally mild.




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