What can be done for post-shingles itching?

Mindy trautman ratigan asked...

The lady I take care of had shingles. Now they are gone but she is constantly itching. I have tried everything!

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Shingles is so tough! When someone develops pain or itching after the shingles rash heals, this is called post-herpetic neuralgia. Treatments for this include nerve medications (like gabapentin), local anethestetics (lidocaine or capsacin), pain medications, or antidepressants. You or one of her family members should speak to her health care provider to make sure that she gets treatment since she is scratching, which means she is uncomfortable. This problem can be treated, which will help improve her quality of life.