Shingles Severe Pain, Meds Not Helping

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Elena Says:
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I have had shingles for more than a month. I went to urgent care three times already. All my doctors are on vacation now and they don't have a doctor to see me. I am in excruciating pain. First visit in urgent care they gave me Naproxen 375 mg, Valacyclovir 1 GM and Methocarbamol 500 mg at the same time. Along with Shingles I have cracked ribs too. For 10 days (this was the prescription length) I keep in control with baths with baking soda to calm down the pain and burning feeling. After that I was worse than ever. My next trip to urgent care, they prescribed Gabapentin 300 mg 3 times a day, upon following up with my doctor. They gave me a lot tests, cause of an unusual pain (like somebody stabbing a knife in my belly), the Shingles blisters was very severe. It was around my waist line in the left side and started on the belly button around the left side to my spine. The pills didn't work either. I called to make an appointment to see my doctor for follow up, but my doctor was on vacation and no doctor was available other than Dr. Elise Watkins (and I really appreciate her call late in the evening at 9:30. She called and told me to increase my dose of Gabapentin, which didn't work. I was worse and worse, I couldn't sleep at all in the night. The next morning I had severe bleeding in my nose (left nostril). So yesterday 4/6/2017, I end up in urgent care again. They gave me Hydrocodone 5/325 and I was hoping the pain killer would let me sleep. I slept from 10 to 1 in the morning, woke up with terrible, stabbing, burning pain. I sat down on the kitchen floor for 3 hours, crying inside me, no wandering around the house like other nights. I didn't want to wake up my husband. If somebody know what it is, why the medication didn't work, please let me know. Thanks a million.

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Judith Says:
I've never had shingles, but an elderly neighbor I cared for at one time did. I'm aware that the pain is excruciating; there were many times she cried in my arms because it just wouldn't go away. Her doctor told her that there really is absolutely no medication that would take the pain away completely. He said that the reason that pain medications don't work well is that the pain from shingles begins at the nerve roots themselves. Pain medications work in the brain, where pain messages are transmitted and/or prevent your body from producing chemicals that cause pain but, when the pain begins in the nerve roots themselves, transmitting the pain sensation along the nerve fibers, even the strongest pain medications can't, so to say, keep up with it. He suggested cool moist compresses (never warm or hot) and baking soda, and even emu oil - all soothe it a bit. Unfortunately, however, like my neighbor, you may have post-herpetic neuralgia, especially if you're diabetic (as she was) or have a bad immune system for any other reason and that can last for many months.

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Poo Says:
I had shingles bad with a lot of pain my doctor also gave me a pill for my nerves and the same pain pill that you had Vicodin. I guess nobody told you that gabapentin take some time to get fully in the blood stream, usually 7 to 10 days to be at full strength. I wouldn't got to Urgent care or Medexpress no more for this go to the ER next, the shingles could possibly never go away they could be a problem for the rest of your life just not as painful. I wish you the best hope you're feeling better soon.

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Jim Says:
I had shingles on half my face some 9 years ago. I had 24 facial nerve blocks (no help), I had two brain blocks which is a needle in your brain (no help). Finally told pain doctor after all this just stop the pain as the nerve sheaves had been destroyed which is common. Finally stopped pain with 10/325 hydrocodone 4 times a day, and 2400 Mg of Gabapentin.Finally stopped pain. I was finally able to get off hydrocodone after 6 years (thats fun) but still have to take Gabapentin. I try every now and then to cut back on Gabapenton but am still on 1800 Mg. Shingles is the nastiest stuff I have ever had including 15 some heart attacks, triple bypass, etc. I think I read every book on the subject and I hate to tell you, but you may have this the rest of your life, so you might as well take both pills and at least feel OK. Willing to talk to you about it, if asked. You will have to go to a pain specialist and try a bunch of stuff before he finally gives up, like every pain pill and nerve block in existence. I feel for you, you may have a fun year or two to go until your back to happiness. My father had it and had to take 2 or 3 shots a day for about 15 years until he died of something else. I thought he was putting me on until I got it.

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SwedesDottir Says:
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I recently had shingles, first episode, in the T10-11 distribution. I knew what it was but was shocked at how painful-- I have very high pain tolerance but it was worse than childbirth or my heart attack. Deep unrelenting intra-abdominal pain. Dreadful. Thank God my physician was empathic and provided Percocet for 10 days. I used it with aspirin and naproxen together. It still flares from time to time and I believe stress makes it worse. It might help to add relaxation training or meditation (free on line) to your daily habits and if possible 20 min daily walks. I felt some relief from aloe topically combined with a cool fan blowing over the sores. Also if you have diabetes or prediabetes, healing will be slower because that condition reduces your immune response. In other words, try to do all you can to maximize your general health which helps your immune system fight off the flare ups.

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Cheryl Says:
I got shingles on my coccyx area. I used ribavirin (virozole) orally and topically. My husband opened the pills and poured the powder on the rash. I took three pills by mouth daily. The pain lessened after 24 hours. The rash lasted six weeks.

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Verwon Says:
The issue with Gabapentin is that is not actually an analgesic. It is an anticonvulsant that the FDA also notes can help with some types of nerve pain, such as that caused by Shingles, but it takes 4 to 5 weeks for it to reach its full level of efficacy in the body to see if it will work for you. Its typical side effects are listed as possibly including nausea, dizziness, headache, weight changes, and mood swings.

Given the severity of Shingles pain, I think that the Hydrocodone just wasn't strong enough to help. Have you tried any other medications? What has your doctor advised?

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Bethe Says:
Ask your doctor to give you a prescription of Valacyclovir to keep in your medicine cabinet so you can take it as soon as you feel it coming on it will halt it in its tracks it has helped me and kept it from spreading into my eye.

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Tony Says:
You didn't state where the shingles are,but if on the body and not the face I would try pain patchs
They seem to have helped me through a terrible bout on my entire leg.None of the pain pills worked.

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Maura Says:
In 1998, got Shingles- 1/2 of my face! Terrible head pain at nite and they were concerned about my eye; seeing an Optamologist for 2 yrs. after that episode.
I had vaclovar and I requested at the time-Darvocet for pain. great med; and of course, since then, they pulled it off the market! Greed on the pharmacy's back! I'm not a pill popper; and all meds have side effects so, I took 2 treatments- 3 weeks apart of Acupunture for the pain.
Gradually; within 1 month- it disappeared! That; I paid myself; insurance doesn't cover then or now in NYState!

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