Foodconsumer.org reports that researchers at the University of Colorado and Health Sciences Center in Denver gave antiviral treatment to 12 men and three women with moderate to severe pain following shingles. The patients received 10 milligrams of the drug acyclovir intravenously every eight hours for 14 days. They then took three 1,000-milligram pills of the drug valacyclovir per day for one month.
The patients rated their pain on a scale of zero to 10 before they began treatment, then again after completing each therapy, and again one month after completing treatment.
As reported online this week by the journal Archives of Neurology, one month after treatment, eight (53 percent) of the patients reported significant reduction (two or more points) in their pain -- similar to the number of patients who reported similar improvements after day 15 and after day 45.
Five of the patients dropped out of the study early, three of them due to complications caused by the therapy. Most patients tolerated the treatment well, however, the researchers said.
'Although our study was small and without placebo control, the findings suggest a promising effect of antiviral treatment on postherpetic neuralgia [shingles nerve pain],' the study authors concluded.