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Post-Herpetic Neuralgia is simple to diagnose. Any patient who develops chronic pain at the site of the shingles rash has post-herpetic neuralgia . The area of pain of post-herpetic neuralgia may be smaller than the shingles rash or may spread several inches larger than the shingles rash. The medical assessment should evaluate the pain completely, ensure that there are no other factors that are contributing to the pain (or predisposed to shingles), and evaluate concerns such as physical dysfunction, mood, pain-coping strategies and social support (Haythornwaite, 2001).

There is growing evidence that treatment of shingles with anti-viral drugs can lessen the duration of shingles and lower the risk for post-herpetic neuralgia . One study also suggested that early treatment with low-dose tricyclic antidepressants (amitryptiline or nortriptyline) from the time of diagnosis of acute shingles can reduce the incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia by about 50% (Bowsher, 1997).



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