Will Botox Help Relieve Pain from Shingles of the Face?

Doctor Answers 10

Botox and off-label use for shingles pain

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There have been some reports in the literature that Botox may help reduce pain from Shingles, however, this off-label use, might induce temporary relaxation of important facial muscles and could interfere with speech, eating and appearance for the duration of the Botox effectiveness such as up to four months.

You should see a board-certified neurologist, plastic surgeon, ENT facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist for an evaluation.

The information provided in Dr. Shelton's answer is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice.  The information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Botox and pain

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Botox is not typically used for pain relief. I would discuss better options for pain relief related to shingles with your primary care physician.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Botox and Shingles

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It is my opinion (based on literature and anatomical knowledge) that Botox does not relieve the pain of shingles. Shingles is caused by nerve inflammation. Botox is a modified toxin that paralyzes muscles. Because shingles pain is not caused by muscle spasm, I see no way that Botox could relieve the pain. Instead, I recommend that you see a physician for an anti-viral medication and prescription pain reliever. Best of luck! 

Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

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Botox gets rid of Shingles Pain

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Dr. Smith of Vancouver credits Drs. Arnold Klein of Beverly Hills and Rick Glogau of San Francisco for making the first  , observations about the utility of BOTOX for Shingles Pain, Botox works in pain syndromes by inhibiting afferent nerves(receptor nerves) function by preventing the release of substance P and glutamate .Also  acetylcholine sensory transmission through nociceptive afferent nerves (pain nerves)of the spinal cord is greatly reduced after Botox injectiion. Subsequently I published in"Science" that Botox was effective in vestibular neuritis in MS,  peripheral neuropathy and post-herpetic neuralgia(Klein A. Beauty,biologic weapons and botox.Science APRIL 2002;Vol296;5567;468-469.) I have by now treated well over 500 patients for this condition. In one reported case a 62 yr old male with Herpes Zoster and a  17 week history of  post herpetic neuralgia condition involving right lumbar 2 & 3 with maximal residual point of pain on right lateral lateral chest he was injected with:34 U of BTX-A to the glabellar area and 20 U of BTX-A intradermally at the point  of maximal pain of the chest(American Journal of Pain Management, August, 2002.) Why they injected the frown I don't know just inject painfull sites with 5-29  units of Botox

Arnold W. Klein, MD (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Botox does not provide pain relief from shingles

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Botox stops nerves from being able to flex muscles, but, unfortunately, it does not blunt the pain sensation transmitted by nerves.

Lawrence Osman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon

Botox and shingles

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Botox is not an effective way to treat shingles and can lead to other unwanted side effects. There are better treatment options for shingles.

Botox and Shingles

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There is no reason to believe that Botox would work on shingles. This is how we approach Shingles:

  • Acyclovir early will decrease the duration
  • Anti-itch lotion-Sarna
  • Cool Wet Compresses
  • Oral Anti-histimines can help with the itch as well
  • Watch out for bacterial infections

Hope this helps..good luck Shingles really does hurt!




John Frodel, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon

Botox will not decrease pain from Shingles

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Botox works at the neuromuscular junction to decrease or prevent electrical stimulation of the targetted muscle. There is no reason to believe that Botox would have any effect on improving the pain and it may cause unintended muscle weakness.


Edwin Ishoo, MD
Cambridge Facial Plastic Surgeon

Botox and Shingles pain on the face.

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There are no clinically controlled studies to support this.Botox is not FDA approve for this indication.

Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD
Minneapolis Dermatologic Surgeon

Botox Will Not Help Shingles Pain

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Botox is unlikely to have any beneficial effect on the pain from shingles.  Botox temporarily paralyzes muscles, but does not typically affect sensory nerves.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.