[The treatment of zoster neuralgia].

Neuralgic pain during or following herpes zoster infection is a common problem in pain therapy. The current management of neuralgias due to zoster is discussed with reference to patients in a chronic pain clinic within an anesthesiology department. The courses of 80 patients followed up for at least 3 months from the pain clinic at the University Hospital in Kiel were analyzed. The mean age was 69 years. The predominant locations for zoster lesions were the thoracic segments (65%) and the first branch of the trigeminal nerve (19%). Diabetes mellitus was present in 20% of the patients and malignant disease in 18%. In 2 patients recurrent postherpetic neuralgia was the first symptom of HIV infection. Despite pretreatment, the mean initial pain score was 8 on an analog scale (range 0-10). Acute herpes zoster pain during the infection was treated with virustatic agents, corticosteroids and sympathetic blocks. Postherpetic neuralgias required a more sophisticated approach, depending on the stage of the disease and the type of pain involved: sympathetic blockade with local anesthetic agents or injections of very low dose opioids to sympathetic ganglia, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and antidepressants or anticonvulsants. The success of the therapy is correlated with the duration of pain. If the history of zoster pain was less than 1 month, the majority of patients showed good or excellent results. On the other hand, only one-third of patients with a history longer than 6 months had adequate pain relief. Therefore, early and appropriate treatment is desirable for patients suffering from zoster neuralgias.
AuthorsH Wulf, C Maier, H A Schele
JournalDer Anaesthesist (Anaesthesist) Vol. 40 Issue 10 Pg. 523-9 (Oct 1991) ISSN: 0003-2417 [Print] GERMANY
Vernacular TitleDie Behandlung von Zoster-Neuralgien.
PMID1684093 (Publication Type: English Abstract, Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Aged
  • Anticonvulsants (therapeutic use)
  • Antidepressive Agents (therapeutic use)
  • Antipsychotic Agents (therapeutic use)
  • Autonomic Nerve Block
  • Herpes Zoster (complications, epidemiology)
  • Humans
  • Neuralgia (epidemiology, etiology, therapy)
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation

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