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SHINGLES AND POST-HERPETIC NEURALGIA

Until this report in the New England Journal of Medicine, there was no effective treatment for post-herpetic neuralgia, permanent nerve damage caused by a recurrence of an infection with chicken pox virus.

The first time a person develops chicken pox, blisters break out on the skin and the virus remains in nerves forever. For one of six, the virus comes out a second time (shingles), causing severe pain for two to eight weeks, followed by grouped blisters in the distribution of one nerve on one side of the body. If treated early with Famvir or Valtrex, a person has seven percent chance of suffering permanent nerve damage. Without early treatment, he has a 50 percent chance of having horrible pain in that nerve for the rest of his life. This report shows that injecting 60 mg of methyl prednisone directly into the spinal fluid, once a week for four weeks, lessens and even cures the pain.

NEJM November 23, 2000

Checked8/9/05

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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