Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Miss L, 32 years.

During the night from the 7 to July 8, 1936, the patient is awaked by an itching on the left side of the thorax. She notes on this level an eruption that she dabs with eau de Cologne and for which she consults on July 8.

She presents at this time on the left side of the thorax a shingles which extends from the armpit to the centre. The eruption, pruriginous, consisted of ten small erythematic plaques, merged in places, and centered by a small vesicule.

8 July, 1st intravenous injection of ascorbic acid: 10 centigrams. (1,000 milligrams)

9 July, less pruritis that of the previous night. Redness almost disappeared. One notes in the armpit three new elements only consisted a small vesicule, without redness. The blisters of the day before are in the process of disappearing.

2nd intravenous injection of ascorbic acid.

10 July, the site of the lesions is still marked by slightly pigmented maculae. On some, one notes a thin yellowish pellicule [film], a remainder of the disappeared blisters. The patient still felt a light pruritis on the level of the armpit in the afternoon of July 9; currently nothing else.

3rd intravenous injection of ascorbic acid, 0.10.

The patient is re-examined on July 21. One notes still at this time on the site of 2-3 lesions, a faint pigmentary macula. No subjective symptoms since 9 July.

M. A., 26 years.

Consulted on 6 July 1935 for a thoracic shingles dating from the day before. The eruption consisted of 3 broad erythemato-vesiculate plaques extending as a slightly oblique band from the spine to the end of the sternum. It is slightly painful.

Treatment: 4 tablets of ascorbic acid per day (20 centigrams).

9 July. Almost complete disappearance of redness. All the blisters are dry. The patient does not show any more any subjective symptom at the level of the eruption.

Mr. G,  25 years.

Shingles intercostal on the right side, going back to 3 days, the time at which the patient presents himself at the Dermatological Polyclinic (4 September, 1935).

The eruption had been preceded by light pains during 2-3 days.

One notes, at two finger-beadths below the right nipple, a wide erythematic plaque strewn with blisters. A little behind is a similar plaque, smaller. A third plaque on the right side of the back, and a fourth in the immediate vicinity of the spine. The pains, which are not very sharp, nevertheless are more marked than at the beginning of the eruption.

No local treatment.

Four tablets of ascorbic acid per day (20 centigrams).

6 September, redness almost completely disappeared. The blisters on the back are in the process of desiccation; on the thoracic plaque some blisters are greatly increased in volume; others are in the process of disappearance.

9 September, all the blisters are in the process of recovery.

16 September, the patient, who could not return earlier because of his employment, arises completely cured. The pains ceased on 13 September. Only some crusts persist on the site of the disappeared blisters.

(From: DAÏNOW I. Preliminary Note on the Treatment of Herpes and Shingles With Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). Annals of Dermatology and Syphiligraphie ,7E Série, Volume 7, No September 9, 1936. )

See also: 

ZUREICK M.  [Therapy of herpes and herpes zoster with intravenous vitamin C.] J Prat Rev Gen Clin Ther. 1950 Nov 30;64(48):586.