S2k guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2020 Jan;18(1):55-78. doi: 10.1111/ddg.14013. Epub 2020 Jan 17.


The present guidelines are aimed at residents and board-certified specialists in the fields of dermatology, ophthalmology, ENT, pediatrics, neurology, virology, infectious diseases, anesthesiology, general medicine and any other medical specialties involved in the management of patients with herpes zoster. They are also intended as a guide for policymakers and health insurance funds. The guidelines were developed by dermatologists, virologists, ophthalmologists, ENT physicians, neurologists, pediatricians and anesthesiologists/pain specialists using a formal consensus process (S2k). Readers are provided with an overview of the clinical and molecular diagnostic workup, including antigen detection, antibody tests and viral culture. Special diagnostic situations and complicated disease courses are discussed. The authors address general and special aspects of antiviral therapy for herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia. Furthermore, the guidelines provide detailed information on pain management including a schematic overview, and they conclude with a discussion of topical treatment options.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Herpes Zoster / complications
  • Herpes Zoster / diagnosis*
  • Herpes Zoster / drug therapy*
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Neuralgia, Postherpetic / diagnosis*
  • Neuralgia, Postherpetic / drug therapy*
  • Neuralgia, Postherpetic / etiology
  • Pain Management
  • Risk Factors


  • Analgesics
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antiviral Agents