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  • Letter to the Editor
  • Open Access

Vitamin C for attenuating postherpetic neuralgia pain: an emerging treatment alternative

The Journal of Headache and Pain201213:476

  • Received: 22 July 2012
  • Accepted: 17 August 2012
  • Published:


  • Standard Therapy
  • Herpes Zoster
  • Recent Article
  • Significant Potential
  • Postherpetic Neuralgia

To the editor,

I read with great interest the recent article by Sayanlar et al. [1] in a recent issue of your esteemed journal. Interestingly, the past few years has seen the identification of a number of alternative treatments for postherpetic neuralgia.

One such emerging alternative is vitamin C. Vitamin C attenuates spontaneous pain in patients with postherpetic neuralgia [2]. This has been confirmed in recent studies. For instance, Schencking et al. [3] in a recent multicenter cohort study have demonstrated the effectiveness of vitamin C in herpes zoster treatment. Vitamin C acts by modulating serum levels of cytokine IL-6 and IL-8.

Vitamin C is especially useful in patient with recalcitrant postherpetic neuralgia resistant to standard therapy. Resolution of dermatologic Zoster lesions is seen in as less as 10 days following intravenous administration of ascorbic acid [4]. Interestingly, the patients afflicted with postherpetic neuralgia demonstrate lower levels of ascorbic acid [5].

Clearly, vitamin C has significant potential in mitigating postherpetic neuralgia, especially when administered intravenously. Hopefully, the coming few years will see the increased use of vitamin C in the treatment of herpes zoster, especially in treatment resistant patients.


Conflict of interest


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

Authors’ Affiliations

74 Crossing Place, Mechanicsville, VA 23239, USA


  1. Sayanlar J, Guleyupoglu N, Portenoy R, Ashina S (2012) Trigeminal postherpetic neuralgia responsive to treatment with capsaicin 8 % topical patch: a case report. J Headache Pain. doi:10.1007/s10194-012-0467-0
  2. Chen JY, Chu CC, So EC, Hsing CH, Hu ML (2006) Treatment of postherpetic neuralgia with intravenous administration of vitamin C. Anesth Analg 103:1616–1617, 17122283, 10.1213/01.ane.0000246396.64010.eeView ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Schencking M, Vollbracht C, Weiss G et al (2012) Intravenous Vitamin C in the treatment of shingles: results of a multicenter prospective cohort study. Med Sci Monit 18:215–224View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  4. Schencking M, Sandholzer H, Frese T (2010) Intravenous administration of vitamin C in the treatment of herpetic neuralgia: two case reports. Med Sci Monit 16:58–61Google Scholar
  5. Chen JY, Chang CY, Feng PH, Chu CC, So EC, Hu ML (2009) Plasma vitamin C is lower in postherpetic neuralgia patients and administration of vitamin C reduces spontaneous pain but not brush-evoked pain. Clin J Pain 25:562–569, 19692796, 10.1097/AJP.0b013e318193cf32View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar



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