Understand the pain that remains after shingles and how to treat it

Even after the rash from shingles is gone, you may experience lingering pain called Postherpetic Neuralgia (post-her-PET-ic noo-RAL-jah), or PHN. PHN is a chronic nerve pain disorder that can occur after shingles.12

Get answers about PHN.

What is PHN?

  • Herpes zoster, known as shingles, is caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus. The painful shingles rash generally clears up within a few weeks. However, an episode of shingles can damage nerves, leading to a nerve pain condition called PHN. The pain of PHN may last for months or even years. PHN can be managed with treatment. Learn more about taking Horizant® for PHN12

Could you have PHN?

  • PHN is the most common complication of shingles. Around 1 million people per year in the United States contract shingles—and up to 20% of people who’ve had shingles develop PHN. The risk of developing PHN increases with age, and PHN occurs most often in elderly people. PHN affects both sexes but occurs more often in women. Patients who had severe pain and severe rash from shingles also may be at greater risk of developing PHN13

What are the symptoms of PHN?

PHN is characterized by persistent pain after the shingles rash has healed.12 Symptoms of PHN include:

  • Pain that lasts 3 months or longer after shingles has healed.12 People with PHN experience painful sensations, typically in the same area that their first shingles episode occurred. The pain can range from mild to severe and has been described as sudden, piercing, deep aching, or burning12
  • Increased sensitivity to pain. Some patients experience a heightened sensitivity to pain known as hyperalgesia12
  • Pain from normally nonpainful stimulation. The affected area can be extremely sensitive to things that don’t normally cause pain, like a light touch. Often, just wearing clothing over the area of skin can feel excruciating. This pain response is known as allodynia14

Impact of PHN pain12,14

The symptoms of PHN may affect your quality of life, especially in the following areas:

Concentration: You may have trouble focusing on tasks

Mood: You may develop depression

Sleep: You may find it difficult to sleep, which may lead to fatigue during the day

Appetite: You may experience a lack of appetite

Tips and resources to help you stay on track with treatment

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