[Skip to Navigation]
October 1957

The Treatment of Herpes Zoster

Author Affiliations

Oakland, Calif.

From the Department of Dermatology, Highland-Alameda County Hospital.

AMA Arch Derm. 1957;76(4):408-414. doi:10.1001/archderm.1957.01550220016003

It is accepted generally that herpes zoster is a self-limited condition. The cutaneous manifestations clear spontaneously, even though scarring may remain. Also, the subjective symptoms subside without treatment in most cases. This allows for easy acceptance of new methods of therapy by enthusiasts and explains the plethora of recommended approaches. The therapeutic nihilist tends to adopt the opposite attitude and directs his treatment toward relief of symptoms by analgesics and antipruritics and lets Mother Nature take her course. Perhaps the wisest program lies somewhere between these two.

A review of the literature in the American Medical Association's Archives of Dermatology and the "Year Book of Dermatology and Syphilology" between 1930 and 1956, revealed that 37 articles were used to announce or discuss 22 different basic methods of treatment of zoster. These reports presented from 1 to 154 cases, averaging the grand total of