Shingles OTC Treatment

Treating Shingles with OTC Medication

Shingles is an uncomfortable and painful condition caused by the Varicella-zoster virus, or VZV. It can cause a painful rash with blisters that can last for weeks or even months. Although most cases of shingles can be managed with prescription medication, some patients may find relief with over-the-counter (OTC) treatments.

OTC Treatments for Shingles

OTC treatments for shingles include:

  • Pain relievers: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, can reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also be used to reduce fever and pain.
  • Topical creams: Certain topical creams can help soothe itching and reduce pain. For example, topical capsaicin cream and calamine lotion can be applied directly to the affected skin to get relief from the itching and discomfort.
  • Vitamins and supplements: Certain vitamins and supplements may be beneficial for treating shingles. Vitamin C and zinc can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.Brewer’s yeast, vitamin B12, and turmeric may also reduce the symptoms of shingles.

When to See a Doctor

OTC treatments can be helpful in managing the symptoms of shingles, but they may not be enough to treat the condition. If your shingles symptoms are severe or do not improve with OTC treatments, it is important to see a doctor right away. Your doctor can prescribe antiviral medications to help speed up the healing process and reduce the risk of complications.

It is also important to see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever above 101°F
  • Intense itching or burning
  • Severe headache
  • Body aches
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion
  • Numbness in the face or body

If left untreated, shingles can cause permanent nerve damage. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.


Shingles can be an uncomfortable and painful condition, but many patients find relief with OTC treatments. Pain relievers, topical creams, and vitamins and supplements can all help manage the symptoms of shingles. However, if your symptoms are severe or do not improve with OTC treatments, it is important to see a doctor right away.

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