Herpes zoster causes significant suffering owing to acute and chronic pain or postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Varicella-zoster virus-induced neuronal destruction and inflammation causes the principal problems of pain, interference with activities of daily living, and reduced quality of life in older adults. The optimal treatment of herpes zoster requires early antiviral therapy and careful pain management. For patients who have PHN, evidence-based pharmacotherapy using topical lidocaine patch, gabapentin, pregabalin, tricyclic antidepressants, or opiates can reduce pain burden. The live attenuated zoster vaccine is effective in reducing pain burden and preventing herpes zoster and PHN in older adults.
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