For some people, shingles can cause severe and lasting pain and discomfort, but local doctors are hoping a new therapy can help.
About one in every three Americans will get shingles. It happens most commonly in men and women fifty or older.
Some cases can be mild,, but some can be very painful and that pain could last months. So doctors are testing a new drug that's designed to short-circuit the virus.
Stephanie Meese didn't need fireworks last 4th of July - she got enough burning from shingles.
She says it started with shoulder pain and arm weakness. Three days later came an itchy, burning rash. And then severe pain.
"You feel like someone is squeezing the muscle from the inside, it's relentless. You count the minutes till you take your next dose of the pain medication," she said.
Shingles occurs when the chicken pox virus laying dormant from childhood awakens, and irritates a nerve.
Doctor Richard Lorraine says it can appear out of nowhere, causing a painful, blistery rash almost anywhere, but often in bands around the upper body.
Doctor Lorraine is one of 4 local doctors involved in a nationwide trial, testing an investigational drug now called FV-100.
Like other shingles medications, it can shorten the length and severity of the initial pain and rash.
So what makes this medication different?
"After three months, a lot of patients continue to experience pain and disability and this decreases the probability of that to happen," said Doctor Lorraine.
He says the trial medication is taken over the course of a week then there's follow-up.
Stephanie wishes it could have been available for her and hopes it works for others.
"Anything that would have shortened or decreased the effects," she said.
To take part in the study, patients have to be at least 50 years of age and contact a study site within 3 days of the first signs of the rash. They also can't have had the shingles vaccine.
To find a study site close to you, go to GotShingles.com
New therapy may help pain associated with shingles
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