Postherpetic Neuralgia is a chronic disorder of herpes zoster and a frequent neuropathic pain resulting from the infection.
Herpes zoster results from the surfacing of dormant varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in a sensory ganglion and is usually very painful vesicular rash affecting the skin which generally resolves within a few weeks.
Postherpetic neuralgia is quite a complex neuropathic pain condition in which pain is a direct consequence of the response to peripheral-nerve damage sustained during the herpes zoster attack.
- Dermatomal pain prevailing at least 90 days after the appearance of the acute herpes zoster rash.
- Abnormal skin sensations like tingling and burning sensation usually with peripheral nerve damage (paresthesias).
- Features of pain and associated sensory disturbances (e.g., numbness and itching)
Treatment of Postherpectic neuralgia may involve therapies like lidocaine or capsaicin and systemic therapy with gabapentin, pregabalin, and tricyclic antidepressants. In few cases opioid analgesics are also recommended. Herpes zoster vaccinations are also available these days which significantly reduces the occurrence of both herpes zoster and Postherpectic neuralgia.