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The primary goal in treating post-herpetic neuralgia is pain relief and improved quality of life.

For patients with established post-herpetic neuralgia, treatments proven effective in clinical trials include tricyclic antidepressants, topical lidocaine patches, topical capsaicin 0.075%, gabapentin (an anticonvulsant), and controlled-release oxycodone (an opioid). The evidence that these treatments help has encouraged pain specialists to consider a large number of other drugs (other analgesic antidepressants, analgesic anticonvulsants, opioids, and unrelated drugs). Scientific studies have typically shown that a drug provides 50% pain relief or more to about one-third to one-half of the patients who try it. Because only about 10% of patients achieve complete relief with a single therapy, multiple therapies are commonplace in the management of post-herpetic neuralgia (Rowbotham, 2001). These treatments could have adverse effects or costs that need to be considered on an individual basis (Alper, 2002).



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