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Post-Herpetic Neuralgia

Post-herpetic neuralgia is pain, headaches, and nerve problems that occur as a complication of shingles (herpes zoster). Post-herpetic neuralgia lasts for at least 30 days and can continue for months to years.

People who develop shingles after age 50 and who have severe pain and rash during shingles have the greatest risk for having post-herpetic neuralgia. It most commonly occurs on the forehead or chest. The pain linked with post-herpetic neuralgia may make it difficult to eat, sleep, and do daily activities. It may also increase the risk for depression.

Early treatment of shingles with antiviral medicines may prevent post-herpetic neuralgia. If post-herpetic neuralgia does occur, certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines can relieve pain.

Last Revised: February 1, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology

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