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What Does Postherpetic Neuralgia Mean?

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By Author: yash
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Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN) is a condition of recurring or persistent pain in an area of the body that has undergone an outbreak of herpes zoster virus (HZ), also known as the varicella zoster virus, commonly termed shingles. It usually begins after shingles lesions (blisters) begin to crust over and heal but may occur in some patients who do not produce lesions.

Postherpetic Neuralgia is thought to be caused by the damage or alteration of nerves that register pain, pressure, and other sensory nerves (for example, touch) that occur when the reactivated HZ viruses travel down nerves to the skin. This process first begins when the virus causes chickenpox in an individual; the viruses can infect various dorsal root ganglia (nerve cells) as the chickenpox subsides. These viruses then can be reactivated, usually decades later, and produce shingles lesions. The reactivation of HZ is thought to be due to a stress on the body from either another infection or a immunocompromised state.

Postherpetic Neuralgia symptoms are usually limited to the area of skin where the shingles outbreak first occurred andmay include sharp ...
... burning, shooting, jabbing pain, numbness, itching and headaches. Age is a high risk factor for PHN; the older a person when he or she develops shingles, the more likely it is that the person will develop PHN. People over 60 years of age have about a 60% chance while people 70 or older have about a 75% chance of developing PHN after getting shingles. According to the L. Feller et al. 2017, about 10 to 15% of persons with HZ will develop PHN. This is uncommon under the age of 40 years, but in HZ-affected persons older than 60 years, it occurs in more than 50%. The more intense the mucocutaneous eruptions of HZ and the acute herpetic neuritis pain during the acute phase of HZ, the greater the frequency and intensity of the PHN.

According to study conducted by Akira Ozawa et al. titled “Postherpetic Neuralgia Treatment ”, the incidence of PHN is about 5% among patients with herpes zoster in their 60s, reaching about 10% among those in their 80s. In Japan, people aged 65 years or older already number 23 million, accounting for 18% of the total population.

The goal of therapy for Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN) is to reduce morbidity through the use of Tricyclic Antidepressants, Anticonvulsants, Anesthetics, Analgesics, Corticosteroids, and Antiviral Agents. A recently approved vaccine is also effective for preventing herpes zoster (HZ) outbreaks and PHN. A recent trial demonstrated that the combination of gabapentin and nortriptyline was more efficacious than either drug as monotherapy for neuropathic pain. Another study found that a single 60-minute treatment with the high-concentration capsaicin patch reduced Postherpetic Neuralgia market for up to 12 weeks regardless of concomitant systemic neuropathic pain medication use.

Source:- Postherpetic Neuralgia Epidemiology


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