Prevention and Treatment


Recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV, Shingrix) is the recommended vaccine to prevent shingles and related complications. For information about vaccination recommendations see Shingles Vaccination.


Several antiviral medicines are available to treat shingles:

  • Acyclovir (ay-sah-EE-kluh-veer)
  • Valacyclovir (va-luh-sah-EE-kluh-veer)
  • Famciclovir (fam-sah-EE-kluh-veer)

These medicines shorten the length and severity of the illness. They work best when you take them as soon as possible after the rash appears. If you think you have shingles, contact your doctor as soon as possible to talk about treatment.

Pain relief medicine may help with the pain caused by shingles. This can be over the counter or a prescription from your doctor. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and warm oatmeal baths may help relieve itching.

Also see Cause and Transmission.