Tagamet (Cimetidine) and shingles

Desperate times call for desperate measures. After three weeks of battling shingles' pain, I could totally relate to that old saying. Over the course, the pain has led me to buy lots of books, Google lots of sites, and ask anyone I knew that had ever had shingles lots of questions. One thing that bubbled to the top in all of this was Tagament, the stuff you take for heartburn and acid indigestion.

Apparently, the active ingredient in Tagament (200mg of Cimetidine) may help reduce the longevity and severity of shingles. In fact, possibly as much as antiviral meds do and possibly with fewer side effects. So why is Tagament (aka Cimetidine) not being touted as a shingles treatment?

It turns out that the drug is no longer protected by patent, which in layman's terms means there is no money in it for the drug companies and hence no incentive to do the clinical research. But there have been some limited trials, one of which (the kickoff of it all, if you will) was a fluke.

A woman had been prescribed Tagament for heartburn just days prior to coming down with shingles. Her recovery from shingles was so swift, the doctors decided to do further studies - all of which seemed to indicate that shingles could be shortened / lessened via Tagament treatment. The dose they used was 200mg three times a day with a 4th does of 400mg (2 tablets) taken at bedtime.

Enter human guinea pig - I purchased Tagament and am giving it a go. Bear in mind that at already 3 weeks into shingles with no other treatment, I don't expect any miracles. But if I can get even a little relief, it will be welcome.

Yesterday was the first day I took Tagament and only got 2 doses in before my bedtime double dose. In other words, too soon to tell. I will say this, however. Tagament made me sleepy which isn't ideal but doesn't totally suck either. I was falling out and had to have a nap after my second dose. I set the timer on my phone to wake me up in an hour - and I reset that timer into a two hour nap.

On the one hand, I was supposed to be working and two hours down was a lot more than I could afford to miss. On the upside, it was a great sleep that I sorely needed. When I took the double dose at bedtime, I fell asleep much faster than I have since contracting shingles (within minutes, really) and I slept a solid four and a half hours before the pain woke me back up.

Four and a half hours may not seem like much, but it's about double what I have been getting. Combined with the two hour nap I got earlier in the day, I was pretty happy.

Is it the Tagament kicking in already? Who knows. It could just be a placebo effect or it could be just the act of it helping me finally at least get some amount of sleep. Either way, I'm happy and plan to continue the Tagament treatment. I'll post back in a few days and let you know how it goes.

22 comments:

  1. It is TAGAMET, not TAGEMET nor TAGAMENT.
    Active ingredient: cimetidine

    (If bloggers checked their spelling, they would be more credible. You may still be right but this looks bad. Go over your post, then after you make corrections, delete this message.)

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    1. Yera mean person. Sum peepole have dissablites...not everyone is required to be perfect. You must be a Virgo...lol!!!!

      Who gives a rat's ass how to spell the word...I am glad to find relief!!!!!!!

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    2. It was only misspelt a few times, in the beginning it was spelt correctly. I completely understood what the blog was about, and it don't matter if something was misspelled by one letter. Mr. or Mrs. whomever you are,why don't you stop being a bully and be more kinder. Ignorant people like you are apparently miserable in their lives and has to criticize other people to make themselves better. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BULLY??? I believe only your doing it because you can hide behind your computer and you probably have a low self-esteem about yourself.

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    3. Not everyone knows how to spell medications, the pronunciations can cause you to misspell words. IDIOT

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  2. Nah, I think I will leave your message. It's a great reminder that no matter how hard someone tries to share knowledge, there's always a general asshole in the crowd waiting to pounce on the smallest of mistakes. I'm sorry you're so uptight; hope it's not due to the pain of shingles.

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  3. I am into my third week of the Shingles and while the skin eruptions are drying up, they are still there and quite sensitive. On the advice of a practitioner of acupuncture, I am zipping into town to pick up some Taggy Mints. I do hope I spelled this correctly.

    I am not a fan of misspelling, over-punctuation or $5.00 words when .25ct ones do the job, but I have to disagree with your assessment that one's credibility is lost somehow through using a misspelled word. I am now going against my own advise by asking you to stop and think before you chastise someone on an open forum. Not cool, very low-brow. I'll stop now.

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    1. JOHN, LOL.................

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  4. Thanks for the info. Just ignore the asshole above, he has no idea the pain we feel. Or the difficulty to even type.
    I wouldn't delete his post at all, shows the cruelty of a few individuals in this world. He has nothing better to do in life I am sure that is what he does all day. LOL

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  5. Thanks for the post. My shingles was bad and getting worse, so I took Tagamet and Lysine and it turned around in a couple of days....

    Used same dose as you suggested above for Tagamet, and Lysine orally was at least 4000 mg per day, along with Lysine cream topically. Lemonbalm also seemed to help.

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  6. Thanks for the post I will try Tagamet, along with the junk they gave me and see how it goes.

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  7. It works!!! The minute I feel a tiny sensation that my nerve endings are very senstive and maybe one tiny bump has emerged - I take Tagamet and I never get a full break out and the tiny erruption is gone in 24 hours! I have done this about 4 times in the last 3 years all with total success.

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  8. im taking cofenac is the only tablet that kill the pain. this pain is miserable.

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  9. I've taken Tagamet for years for my cold sores with fabulous results, and this is my second outbreak of shingles, so I thought to give it a try. The original outbreak started about a week ago, but it's spreading fiercely over the last few days... to the point I finally realized what it was. No way do i want to go through the pain of a full-blown episode, so I'm glad I found your site with dosage recommendations.

    So far, I have no pain, only the bumps. I started the Tagamet last night.

    (Anyone ever heard of a tattoo causing shingles?? That's where the outbreak started so it's all over my shin.)

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  10. Anonymous ( e )

    My old internist ( Who was Mayo trained and a Very good doc ) told me about the Tagamet/shingles business years ago when my Dad got shingled& was miserable for months. The Tagamet stopped the assault in 3 days& never returned. Ignore the moron who spellchecked you.

    We all knew what you meant.

    Rio GP

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  11. Anyone know if it is effective after one has post herpetic neuralgia? I wish I had heard of this months ago. I took VAltrex had acupuncture, no immono comprimise and I am stuck ith this pain. I am taking l Lysine and TAgamet. Lets see what happens. The pain seems to have gotten worse the second day on this.

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    1. Weeks into my shingles outbreak - which was in my eye and on my face - my new opthalmologist told me about Tagamet, suggesting I give it a try for the post herpetic pain and itching I was experiencing.
      Within a couple of days I had tremendous relief from those symptoms. In my opinion, yes it's worth a try for post herpetic neuralgia.

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  12. Thank you for the Tagamet suggestion. I have had shingles for almost 4 weeks and despite Gabapentin and Oxycodone - I notice no lessening of pain. I am in Florida - the nation's capital for "pill mills" and oxycodone is king with the "pillbillies" who drive down from everywhere. Sadly, I find the benefits of oxycodone to be negligible - the pain is still there you simply don't care. Not worth the possibility of addiction. Will try Tagamet and thanks for anything that might alleviate this most excruciating pain.

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    1. Hi. Sorry for posting on a thread that hasn't been active for a while.

      I was glad to find this article (and have since found others) but I have not found any details on how many days this level of tagamet should be taken for relief of shingles.

      One article had this quote :

      In 1996, a clinical trial was conducted on 221 patients with herpes zoster who were treated daily with cimetidine at 3 x 200 mg during the day and 1 x 400 mg at night. The results showed that cimetidine shortened the period of disease duration. The authors suggested using cimetidine in the treatment of shingles during the earliest stages of the disease.(3)

      The reference is to "Kapinska-Mrowiecka M, Toruwski G: 1996. Efficacy of cimetidine in treatment of herpes zoster in the first 5 days from the moment of disease manifestation. Pol Tyg Lek Jun;51(23-26):338-9."

      I have been unable to find more than the abstract of this article and sorry if I missed it earlier but haven't seen any details from anyone on how many days people are taking this.

      If anyone has any more details either through personal experience or possibly access to the detailed results of this study i would greatly appreciate it.

      My partner has taken this for a couple of days and hasn't noticed any benefit (though we didn't find this information until the end of 2nd week of the outbreak). Fortunately we got the valtrex started within 2 hours of the first sign of the rash but my partner is still in incredible pain.

      Thanks in advance and wishing good health to all others fighting this horrible thing.

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    2. Hi Unknown,

      Tagamet is supposed to offer the same benefit the antiviral meds provide - to help suppress the virus / limit the duration. I was in the same boat (a little longer, at three weeks) and took it for 5 days.

      At the end of it I started having a day or two pain-free and that helped tremendously (just being able to sleep felt like a miracle). Obviously. correlation does not equal causation so I can't say for certain it was the Tagamet. Altogether, it was 5 weeks before I was completely pain free. However, pain relief is a completely separate issue.

      You don't mention where your partner has shingles but (assuming it's in an area that would be amenable), I had the greatest pain relief with Lidocaine patches. Nothing else I tried even came close. You cannot wear the patch for more than 12 hours straight. I timed it for periods when I knew I would be able to go to sleep if the opportunity presented itself just to maximize my chance of actually staying asleep.

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    3. Thank you for the feedback.

      The area is around the ribcabe and middle back. We've been very hesitant / recluctant about applying the lidocaine patches because of how sensitive the skins is and how bad it would be when removing the patch. That seems like it would be excruciating.

      If you don't mind can you talk a little about what it was like when removing the patches?

      Thanks again!

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  13. 7 years ago I had an outbreak consisting of a 2" band that started at my sternum and wrapped around my rib-cage to my spine. The pain was excruciating and my only relief was packing the area with crushed ice and various prescription painkillers. I slept with an ice pack on my chest while laying on another one. When the ice was gone, my sleep was rudely interrupted - without fail. I wasn't able to get near any heat source or direct sunlight for 6 weeks. I didn't find out about Tagamet until after my ordeal. It does seem to help with the itching that still lingers but the best news is that I haven't had another outbreak since my initial one.

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  14. I had shingles about 30 years ago in my 20's and my doctor then prescribed this new treatment for shingles called Tagamet. I was very lucky in that I caught it early, only had a small band of rash on my left lower rib cage and a feeling of sunburn in the middle of my back. The tagamet worked and went away quickly. No scarring or itching or lingering neuralgia. I'm pretty sure I was told to only take the Tagamet for three days, but can't be sure as it was so long ago. Has anyone else taken it for only three days?
    This week I contracted shingles again and was shocked to find that Tagamet was not even heard of now by my doctor as a treatment for shingles. I asked him to please prescribe it and he gave me Ranitidine which I have been taking for three days. My skin is not quite as sensitive as it was although I still have the sunburn feeling on my back and pain in my right ribs. I got onto it before the rash developed so am hoping it won't come at all.

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