back to back shingles!!!!! ouch

Question

dear doctor

could you shed some light on this question,have you ever heard of getting shingles back to back?

as in my case i first got them late dec 99, cleared up late jan 00,

just a few days later shingles pop up again on the same exact rash spots as the orig shingles (chest).

the shingles rash spots on my back where not affected,

i had taken valtrex for the first outbreak for seven days,

now have the same for 10 days,

is this type of shingles outbreak odd?

thank you

Answer

It is unusual but not impossible. It may have come back because the first course of antiviral therapy was too short-- I use at least 10 days of treatment, not 7. Also, sometimes people are prescribed the Herpes dose of valaciclovir (Valtrex)-- which is 500 mg twice a day, not the shingles dose which is much higher-- 1000 mg three times a day, and that may also contribute to a rapid relapse of shingles.