Anyone who has ever experienced shingles is aware of the intense pain that often accompanies this rash-causing condition. In particular, a serious complication called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) can occur as the result of shingles. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, PHN affects a person’s nerve fibers, causing him or her to experience severe pain for long periods of time. Although it affects elderly patients most often, PHN occurs in up to 15 percent of all shingles patients.
Fortunately, a new medicated skin patch called Qutenza was approved in November to help relieve the pain of PHN patients. The drug contains a concentrated dose of capsaicin, a compound found in chili peppers, and is offered by prescription only. According to the FDA and RxList, Qutenza must be applied by a health care professional because application often involves a topical anesthetic and an increased risk of high blood pressure. Side effects include swelling, itching, pain, and redness. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if this new patch could be right for you. If it is, you may be able to receive it at a discounted rate with the help of your True Care Advantage prescription plan. Why wait?