March 28, 2017
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).