What is postherpetic neuralgia?

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Postherpetic neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia is persistent pain that occurs as a complication of shingles (herpes zoster). It can last for months to years after shingles heals.

People who develop shingles after age 50 and who have severe pain and rash during shingles have the greatest risk for having postherpetic neuralgia. It most commonly occurs on the forehead or chest. The pain linked with postherpetic neuralgia may make it difficult to eat, sleep, and do daily activities. It may also increase the risk for depression.

Early treatment of shingles with antiviral medicines may prevent postherpetic neuralgia. If postherpetic neuralgia does occur, certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines can relieve pain.

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