Does triamcinolone help with shingles? (+5 options)

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

Does triamcinolone help with shingles?

Triamcinolone may help with a few symptoms of shingles. However, it is not a first-line treatment for shingles, as shingles is a viral infection that can be effectively managed by antiviral medication.

Triamcinolone acetonide is a corticosteroid medication that may help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with various diseases, including shingles. If you experience any symptoms of shingles, including rash, itching, blisters, pain, or a burning sensation on any side of the body or face, you should consult your healthcare provider immediately (1).

Refrain from self-medicating, as viral infections only respond to antiviral medication, and taking other medications without consulting your healthcare provider may worsen your condition.

What does research suggest?

According to research, triamcinolone can be used in the symptomatic management of shingles or herpes zoster infection. However, it does not completely cure or work against the virus causing the infection.

In a research study, triamcinolone was given to patients with shingles. The results showed improvement in pain, numbness, and neuralgia associated with shingles in 64% of the patients who took this medication (2).

In another study, 0.1% triamcinolone cream was applied to patients undergoing treatment for shingles with antiviral medications. After topical administration of triamcinolone cream, the patients experienced an improvement in the rash and inflammation after using the cream for 7 to 14 days (3).

Another study reported a reduction in neuralgia in patients with shingles after taking triamcinolone (4).

What to do if triamcinolone fails to manage shingles?

While triamcinolone is not a medication of choice for treating shingles, it can be prescribed for the symptomatic relief of symptoms. If you are prescribed triamcinolone for managing shingles symptoms and it does not improve your symptoms after taking it for a few days, you should consult your healthcare provider.

They may assess your symptoms, review the other medications you are taking, and determine the cause of treatment failure. If triamcinolone is not helping with symptoms for which your healthcare provider has prescribed it, they may recommend changes in the treatment plan, either through dosage adjustment or discontinuation of the medication.

Dosage adjustment is considered in cases where a lower dose of triamcinolone is ineffective in managing your symptoms. However, if this medication causes side effects that impact your quality of life, they may recommend discontinuation of triamcinolone and provide you with an alternative that is more effective in managing your symptoms based on your individual needs.

What medications can be used in the management of shingles?

Various medications can be used for the treatment of shingles to reduce the severity and duration of the infection. The most commonly prescribed medications for shingles include:           

Antiviral drugs Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir
Pain medications NSAIDs
Anticonvulsants gabapentin or pregabalin for postherpetic neuralgia
Topical creams Calamine lotion or lidocaine-containing creams for itching and pain
Corticosteroids triamcinolone acetonide to reduce inflammation

What are the management tips for shingles?

Non-pharmacological management of shingles involves approaches that do not rely on medications. These strategies aim to alleviate symptoms, promote healing, and improve the overall well-being of individuals affected by shingles. Here are some non-pharmacological management options for shingles:

  • Avoid tight clothing on the affected area
  • Getting rest and adequate sleep may support the body’s natural healing processes 
  • Managing stress through relaxation techniques that can contribute to overall well-being
  • Applying cool compresses to relieve itching and discomfort 
  • Taking oatmeal baths may help alleviate itching
  • Avoid scratching the rash and keep the affected area clean
  • Physical therapy may be recommended if there is persistent postherpetic neuralgia.

To prevent future shingles infections, it is highly recommended to receive the shingles vaccine after you have completely recovered from the infection.

 In my opinion, the use of triamcinolone for shingles 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.


Epstein E. Treatment of herpes zoster and postzoster neuralgia by subcutaneous injection of triamcinolone. Int J Dermatol. 1981 Jan-Feb;20(1):65-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4362.1981.tb05299.x. PMID: 7203770.


Thompson H, Nichols L, Gonzalez Santiago T. Bullous fixed drug eruption following administration of the recombinant adjuvant Shingrix vaccine. BMJ Case Rep. 2021 Aug 19;14(8):e241293. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2020-241293. PMID: 34413031; PMCID: PMC8378370.


Epstein E. Triamcinolone-procaine in the treatment of zoster and postzoster neuralgia. Calif Med. 1971 Aug;115(2):6-10. PMID: 5563819; PMCID: PMC1518011.