Q. I recently developed shingles and the pain was excruciating. My doctor was slow to diagnose the problem because I didn’t have blisters. Once I got a prescription for acyclovir, the pain became bearable. Please tell your readers to get a quick diagnosis so they can get fast relief from this medicine.
A. Acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir are all antiviral medicines that work against cold sores and shingles. The sooner they are taken, the better they work.
Getting the diagnosis of shingles may seem straightforward but it can be tricky, as a recent column in The New York Times demonstrates.
Some readers who were not diagnosed quickly enough to benefit from an antiviral medicine have reported that applying original Listerine mouthwash to the rash can help ease the pain. Others have deliberately sought out bee stings or used green tea on the rash to ease the pain. You could read more about these home remedies in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.