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 NY State!

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Dolores Says:
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One or both of following regimens should help.
The anti viral is treating the actual shingles virus-it should be increased or changed.
AND you are treating the pain more than the actual disease. Nobody can live a normal functioning day to day life ( work, household, etc..) when they are in excruciating pain. Therefore the pain must be treated as it is a large part of the equation to living quality of life. Until there is clearing and lessening of pain I think (this is my opinion, I can cite it but really don't want to ) You need to CHANGE doctors and speak with them about a pain med that is IR - immediate release so it can be taken when the pain is occurring. Oxycontin makes a 10mg pill, but beware of the opiate debacle due to med school not educating on pain pill addiction (not the singular reason by any means ) once you begin a pain medication you are immediately looked at differently by 2ND or 3rd month. Good luck to you, pain sucks & I've been dealing with it for many yrs, because of this and having a sick son I went from being selfish employed to just being a few credits shy of my Masters in Science. Funny what pain will do to your life.

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Red Says:

This is just one of the worst pains ever! I do not have any helpful suggestions as far as pain control.. I was a member of the study that developed the vaccine against shingles. I got the placebo. Believe the study was supposed to be 7 yrs but it was stopped after about 3 as it was obvious how effective it was. My Mom got shingles years ago...Nothing, including narcotics controlled the pain. You can get them ANYWHERE on/in your body AND they can reoccur... I used to think only older folks got them. WRONG..2 young friends in college did, 30yr old nurse I worked with, etc etc...Some insurance will cover the vaccine...if not, pay for it out of pocket if you are older. You DO NOT WANT TO GET THIS. I got the vaccine...they have now found out you may STILL get a mild case..I've had 2 episodes..2-3 tiny blisters on shoulder areas..mainly itched BUT I had to stay off work until the blisters were gone (RN in hospital) which took about 1 wk..... used to say if you had already had shingles the vaccine was useless...last I heard (infection control MD) recommending getting the vaccine because if you get them again it will be a much milder reaction. Check with your doctor for latest info in this regard. When I paid for the vaccine it was $250.00... The study participants that got the placebos could get the real thing..and this was before it was approved for everyone...I didn't get myself back out there for it. It was bout 3 yrs before FDA approved it...had my fingers crossed the entire time. My insurance did not cover it. Now they have an "age" requirement.

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Michelle Says:
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Ask for Percocet. It helps but not completely. I looked it up and it's the pain med recommended for shingles. The er and the clinic both did you so wrong! All doctors should know how horrible shingles is and it's very important to treat the nerve pain early so it doesn't do permanent damage! I hope you get better!!!

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Joe Says:
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I've got shingles on my right-hand side, just below the ribcage. What type of antibiotics should one take?

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Marie Says:

Has anyone had success with a cream for nerve pain from Shingles? I came down with Shingles almost 2 years ago. I have had severe pain since the start. We have tried many different medications and procedures. Will dermatran cream help?

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Maura Says:

Re: Red (# 11)

Don't get the vaccine! It's expensive and it can give you shingles! They use a Live vaccine! Get to a good acupuncturist; preferably someone from China. I had 2 treatments; 1 mo. apart and thank God, that cured the pain of Shingles!

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James Says:

Re: Jim (# 3)

I am answering a request to update my last post. I presently after about 10 years now have completely cut off hydrocodone but while cutting off gabapentin from 3 600 MG pills per day for some 10 years to 2 300 MG per day have had to go back up to 2 600 MG per day as pain came back. Now under control again with the two 600 MG per day after 10 years. Horrible disease, really messes up your nerve lining in your face and I assume other places. Figure as I am now 80 yrs young that this pain in my face is a life sentence. Good luck to all, but Post Shingles Neuropathy is a real thing and may be forever. It does lighten up but is still there.

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