Hi [...]. Yes, I had opthamalic shingles six weeks after my valium taper ended (last January 2010). It was not pleasant but I did get diagnosed early which is probably what saved my vision. I was on acyclovir anti viral meds within two days of the first itching on my scalp. The rash had just started on one side of my forehead. For those who do not know, shingles is a one sided (asymmetrical) rash (can be on forehead or any part of the body, more commonly I think on chest or back). Mine was forehead and got into the eye orbit a bit and followed the trigeminal nerve to the nose. I asked my doctor and he said you can get a relapse but not that likely unless under a lot of stress. Also, shingles is common occurence for cancer patients after chemo. My elderly father has had shingles a few times. However, it is not just something that happens in the elderly or to folks over 60. I was in my forties when I got it. I was told by my doc that they are seeing it more in younger populations, college kids for example, during finals.... One can have post herpetic neuralgia where you still feel nerve tingling, sometimes painful, for years afterward. I still have nerve tingling on my forehead periodically, particularly when stress heats up. I am fortunate though that it is not very painful, more annoying itch sensation but its been over 18 months. I've heard some may have it for many years but it is not necessarily dangerous. That being said, if you have any loss of vision or blurry vision, I'd see an eye doctor. I recently had my vision checked, had a special scan done to recheck things.
Hi[...]. I do think that since the Shingles virus impacts the CNS, it can compound the healing off a benzo taper or c/t. I felt like my getting it six weeks after the taper ended was like a one/two punch to my system. I believe I might be further along today if I had not gotten shingles. In fact, I'm not certain that most of my remaining issues are not from the Shingles. That being said, I don't think I would have gotten shingles if not for the strain on my CNS from the taper. So I guess it's like the chicken or the egg. I think the shingles can complicate things a bit, maybe make the immune system work harder. I am hoping that by two years out, I will be feeling close to 100%. Right now, I can only say about 90% since it's a bit weird to still get the nerve tingling and I still have some lingering symptoms, though nothing major. I also seem to feel more vulnerable to stressful situations, react strongly when difficult situations come up, more so than before benzos. The final 10% has been a little slow going.