Varicella zoster/chicken pox - Herpes zoster / shingles

Pregnant/immunocompromised/neonate: seek urgent specialist advice.

Chicken pox: Consider treatment if onset of rash <24hrs, and 1 of the following: over 14 years of age; severe pain; dense/oral rash; taking steroids; smoker.
Give paracetamol for pain relief.

Shingles: treat if >50 years and within 72 hrs of rash (PHN rare if ​<50 years); or if 1 of the following: active ophthalmic, Ramsey Hunt, eczema, non-truncal involvement; moderate or severe pain; moderate or severe rash.
Shingles treatment if not within 72 hours: consider starting antiviral drug up to 1 week after rash onset, if high risk of severe shingles or continued vesicle formation; older age; immunocompromised; or severe pain.

For glossary of terms see Glossary

Drug details

Aciclovir 800mg five times a day

7 days

Last reviewed: 27 August 2020

Next review: 27 August 2023

Author(s): Antimicrobial Management Team

Approved By: TAM Subgroup of ADTC

Reviewer Name(s): Area Antimicrobial Pharmacist

Document Id: AMT172