Postherpetic neuralgia is a nerve pain due to damage caused by the varicella zoster virus. Typically, the neuralgia is confined to adermatomic area of the skin, and follows an outbreak of herpes zoster (commonly known as shingles) in that same dermatomic area.
The neuralgia typically begins when the herpes zoster vesicles have crusted over and begun to heal, but can begin in the absence of herpes zoster—a condition called zoster sine herpete (see Herpes zoster).
Treatment options for postherpetic neuralgia include antidepressants, anticonvulsants (such as gabapentin, pregabalin, ortopiramate), gabapentin enacarbil (a prodrug of gabapentin) and topical agents such as lidocaine patches or capsaicin lotion.Opioid analgesics may also be appropriate in many situations. There are some sporadically successful experimental treatments, such as rhizotomy (severing or damaging the affected nerve to relieve pain) and TENS (a type of electrical pulse therapy).