About one million people develop shingles each year, and a number of them experience a complication called postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia is pain that is present in the affected area for months, or even years, after the shingles rash has healed.
The most bothersome of postherpetic neuralgia symptoms is pain. The pain with postherpetic neuralgia may be described as agonizing, excruciating, burning, sharp, electric-like jabs, burning, throbbing, or aching. This pain can result in an inability to perform daily tasks of living.
Postherpetic neuralgia treatment usually involves medication. Horizant is one of the medications approved to treat the pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia.
It is not known exactly how this medication works to treat restless legs syndrome or postherpetic neuralgia. Preliminary data suggests that Horizant binds to certain parts of calcium channels in the central nervous system, and this may be how it works for RLS or postherpetic neuralgia.
This drug is not approved for use in children (usually defined as people younger than 18 years of age). The safety and effectiveness of Horizant has not been studied in this age group. Horizant comes in only one strength, and the tablets cannot be broken or crushed, making this medication inappropriate for almost all children.
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this product for something other than the treatment of restless legs syndrome. For example, using Horizant to treat epilepsy would be considered an off-label use. Also, based on the off-label uses sometimes seen with Neurontin®, possible off-label Horizant uses might include treating the following conditions:
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease
- Bipolar disorder
- Hot flashes associated with menopause or breast cancer treatment
- Migraine headaches
- Orthostatic tremor (shakiness of the legs when standing)
- Chronic pain
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Social anxiety disorder
- Spasticity (muscle spasms that cause stiffness), including spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS).