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Home Health Library Frequently Asked Questions Shingles treatment: Does alcohol use affect therapy?

Shingles treatment: Does alcohol use affect therapy?

Answer Section

Generally, it's best to avoid alcohol during shingles treatment.

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. An episode of shingles usually heals on its own within a few weeks. However, immediate shingles treatment — often including an antiviral drug, such as acyclovir (Zovirax, Sitavig), famciclovir or valacyclovir (Valtrex) — can reduce pain, speed healing and reduce the risk of complications.

Although alcohol warnings aren't specifically listed in the product labels for the antiviral drugs most often used to treat shingles, it's usually best to avoid mixing alcohol and medication. Alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of certain medications, as well as increase the risk of side effects, such as dizziness, especially in older adults.

Last Updated: July 22nd, 2021