The patient has a rash that is consistent with herpes zoster. Prednisone in combination with antiviral agents has been shown to decrease acute symptoms of herpes zoster. Both acyclovir and valacyclovir have also been shown to relieve and shorten acute symptoms of herpes zoster as well as shorten the duration of postherpetic neuralgia if it occurs. Opiates may be necessary to relieve severe pain caused by herpes zoster. Carbamazepine can relieve some forms of postherpetic neuralgia, but the drug is not helpful for relief of acute zoster pain.