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.