Amino acid for shingles?

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After chemo treatment, I had two bouts with shingles. Knowing that this is a herpes virus, I treated myself with L-lysine as I often do for cold sores. The discomfort and rash disappeared in less than a week. My oncologist was very interested to hear this and has been successful using L-lysine for other patients with shingles.

Prescription antiviral drugs such as Valtrex or Famvir can be helpful against shingles. Many people say L-lysine works for cold sores. We have never heard that this amino acid might also work against shingles.


I am a singer, so my voice is critical to my livelihood and my sense of well-being. I was recently diagnosed with mild asthma, and my doctor prescribed an inhaler, Flovent.


I am fairly certain that this medicine is affecting the quality of my voice. Is this my imagination, or could this be a side effect? Are there any other complications I should know about?

Fluticasone (found in Flovent and Advair) is an inhaled steroid. Such cortisone-like drugs calm inflammation in the lungs with fewer systemic side effects than oral steroids. Nevertheless, hoarseness, throat irritation, sinusitis, oral yeast infections and voice problems are not uncommon.

One reader was livid that she was not informed of any fluticasone side effects. After years of use, she had developed cataracts, headaches and osteoporosis. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.


Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition.