Pain from shingles can range from very uncomfortable to almost unbearable. If you are experiencing even a small shingles rash, you are probably looking for relief. Your healthcare team will work with you and suggest the treatments that are best for your specific situation. Your symptoms could persist even after your rash has disappeared, and if that is the case for you, there is a treatment available.

Qutenza® has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patients who experience a significant amount of pain after their rash has disappeared. Qutenza® is a prescription-strength pain patch that potentially delivers long-term pain relief – up to three months in a single, one-hour topical treatment. Only your doctor or a trained healthcare professional can apply this patch.

The active ingredient in this patch is an eight percent capsaicin solution, an element that is extracted from hot peppers. It is safe to use the Qutenza® patch in conjunction with other pain medicines, and you can opt to reapply the patch every three months as needed.

Your doctor or healthcare professional will identify the size and shape of the area on your body that’s affected by shingles and cut Qutenza® patches to fit that size and shape. They will apply numbing cream to the target area on your skin because the capsaicin can potentially cause a burning sensation. The numbing cream is wiped away, and then the Qutenza patch or patches (up to four) are applied to your skin for one hour. After one hour, the patch is removed and then the treatment area is cleansed. It takes approximately one week for the treatment to reach its full potential. However, patients report some pain relief within a few days.


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The Northwell Health Pain Center is dedicated to world-class diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases and disorders.