Does Aspercreme treat shingles? (+5 options)

 In this article, we will discuss whether Aspercreme can be used in the management of shingles. We will also explore research studies that examine the use of Aspercreme in shingles management, as well as other medications that may be more effective in treating shingles compared to Aspercreme.

Does Aspercreme treat shingles?

Aspercreme does not treat shingles; however, it can be used for alleviating neuralgia and cutaneous pain associated with shingles. It is important to note that Aspercreme provides symptomatic relief and does not address the underlying viral infection.

For the treatment of shingles, antiviral medications prescribed by a healthcare professional are essential. If you experience persistent or severe symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider for appropriate guidance and treatment. 

What does research suggest?

There is limited research on the use of Aspercreme in the management of shingles, as this medication is not commonly used in the treatment of viral infections, including shingles. However, the use of Aspercreme in alleviating pain, including neuralgia, is evident, and several research studies provide evidence for its therapeutic effects.

 In a research study, a 9% Aspercreme formulation was used to relieve cutaneous pain associated with shingles in over 20 patients. Some patients reported relief in their pain within a few hours of topical administration of this medication (3).

In another study, a 5% Aspercreme formulation was used as a topical formulation to manage neuralgia in patients with shingles. The results showed that over 30% of patients reported rapid relief in their pain (4).

What to do if Aspercreme fails to manage symptoms of shingles?

While Aspercreme is not the primary choice for treating shingles, it may be prescribed for symptomatic relief. If Aspercreme is prescribed to manage shingles symptoms and fails to improve your condition after a few days, consult your healthcare provider.

They will assess your symptoms, review your medications, and identify the cause of treatment failure. If Aspercreme proves ineffective for the prescribed symptoms, your healthcare provider may suggest adjustments in the treatment plan, including dosage changes or discontinuation.

If side effects from Aspercreme negatively impact your quality of life, your healthcare provider might recommend discontinuation and provide an alternative more effective in managing your symptoms based on your individual needs.

What medications can be used for shingles infection?

As shingles is a viral infection, antivirals are commonly prescribed. In addition to antivirals, other medications may be administered to provide symptomatic relief. The specific choice of medication can vary from person to person (1).

These medications may be prescribed to manage shingles (2):

Antiviral medications




Antiviral eye drops (for ophthalmic shingles) Trifluridine
Pain relievers



Topical medications Lidocaine patches
Corticosteroids Prednisone, triamcinolone

What are the non-pharmacological management tips for shingles?

Along with medication, your healthcare provider may recommend management tips to reduce shingles symptoms and prevent the spreading of the infection. These management tips may include: 

  •  Start antiviral medications early to reduce the severity and duration of the infection.
  • Use cool compresses to alleviate itching and discomfort. 
  • Avoid scratching the rash to prevent further irritation.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to reduce friction on the affected skin.
  • Practice good hand hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Use a gentle soap when washing the affected area.
  • Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures that may worsen discomfort.
  • Keep the rash covered to prevent the spread of the virus to others.
  • Use a high-SPF sunscreen on the affected area if exposed to sunlight.
  • Attend regular check-ups with your healthcare provider.

In my experience

In my experience, the use of Aspercreme in clinical settings for shingles is limited. Healthcare providers typically prescribe antivirals for treating shingles. However, the use of Aspercreme should only be under the prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider.

Viral infections are challenging to manage and can worsen the quality of life. It is important to follow the recommendations of your healthcare provider to ensure the safety of treatment. 

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Koshy E, Mengting L, Kumar H, Jianbo W. Epidemiology, treatment and prevention of herpes zoster: A comprehensive review. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2018 May-Jun;84(3):251-262. doi: 10.4103/ijdvl.IJDVL_1021_16. PMID: 29516900.


Cohen KR, Salbu RL, Frank J, Israel I. Presentation and management of herpes zoster (shingles) in the geriatric population. P T. 2013 Apr;38(4):217-27. PMID: 23785227; PMCID: PMC3684190.


Riopelle J, Lopez-Anaya A, Cork RC, Heitler D, Eyrich J, Dunston A, Riopelle AJ, Johnson W, Ragan A, Naraghi M. Treatment of the cutaneous pain of acute herpes zoster with 9% lidocaine (base) in petrolatum/paraffin ointment. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1994 May;30(5 Pt 1):757-67. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(08)81507-1. PMID: 8176016.


Bianchi L, Piergiovanni C, Marietti R, Renzini M, Gori F, Hansel K, Tramontana M, Stingeni L. Effectiveness and safety of lidocaine patch 5% to treat herpes zoster acute neuralgia and to prevent postherpetic neuralgia. Dermatol Ther. 2021 Jan;34(1):e14590. doi: 10.1111/dth.14590. Epub 2020 Dec 2. PMID: 33244838.