Your health care provider may prescribe skin patches that contain lidocaine (a numbing medicine). These may relieve some of your pain for a short time. Lidocaine also comes as a cream that can be applied to areas where a patch is not easily applied.
Zostrix, a cream that contains capsaicin (an extract of pepper), may also reduce your pain.
Two other types of prescription drugs may help reduce your pain. You must take them every day, and they may take several weeks before they begin to help.
- Anti-seizures drugs. Gabapentin and pregabalin are the ones that are used most often.
- Drugs to treat pain and depression, most often ones called tricyclics, such as amitriptyline or nortriptyline
Both of these types of drugs have side effects. If you have uncomfortable side effects, do not stop taking your medicine without talking with your health care provider first. Your provider may change your dosage or prescribe a different medicine.
Sometimes, a nerve block can be used to temporarily reduce pain. Your provider will tell you if this is right for you.