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Ozone Therapy Herpes Zoster

Ozone therapy herpes zoster

Ozone Therapy Herpes Zoster

Herpes Zoster – a Treatment Concept with Ozone

Alexander Balkanyi
Morgental–Strasse 31
CH – 8038 Zürich


The trigger of the zoster or shingles condition is the varicella zoster virus.  It manifests itself as a local recurrence through a weakened immune condition, mainly arising during childhood. Depending on the degree of immune weakness, it can spread from one to several segments (i.e., zoster generalisatus).  The duration of healing, severity of disease, and post-zoster neuralgia also depend on the immune condition prevailing. Older patients often indicate an immune weakness.  This is why zoster illness with the complications mentioned above occur frequently in their case.

Zoster is normally treated with virostatic agents as the preferred method.  In comparison to virostatic agents, ozone therapy also shows good results. Yet it shows the comparative advantage of an immune system regulating or stimulating effect.  Furthermore, it can already be used at an early stage in case of slight diagnostic suspicion, since – in contrast to virostatic agents – practically no side effects are anticipated. Normally ozone therapy is more economical than treatment with virostatic agents.  Beginning treatment early improves the chances of avoiding the dreaded post-zoster neuralgia.        

Zoster patients in the pilot study were treated with ozone systematically as well as locally.  In case of strong neuralgia, the related ganglia were injected with local anesthesia and ozone at the same time. Enzymes, zinc, and vitamins E, C, B1, B6, and B12 were administered as added measures.


Zoster is a relapse of the original infection, chickenpox, during childhood.  The trigger is the chicken-pox-zoster virus belonging to the Herpes viridae family.  It promptly loses its infectious nature outside the body.  Highly contagious, chicken-pox, are transmitted by airborne droplets through breathing and coughing as well as via  the content of small blisters and crusts.

The chicken-pox-zoster virus persists in spinal ganglion and leads to zoster disease when reactivated.  It shows itself by unilateral blisters within a dermatome connected to intense pains.  Usually the Th3 to L3 dermatome are affected.  Intensive neuralgic pains frequently appear just before the blisters show up.  These may latent for a long time as post-zosteroid neuralgia.  The probability of developing chronic post-zosteroid neuralgia increases with age.

Zoster disease usually occurs among those with immune-system weaknesses and the elderly.  The disease’s peak manifests itself between the 60th and 70th years of life. A weakened immune system plays an essential role in emergency of zoster disease.  It indicates itself in:

  • Older people;
  • Patients who were treated with immunosuppressants;
  • People with immune-system defects such as AIDS
  • After intense infections that reduce immunocompetence.

The most common sites are:           thorax segments                   48%

                                                            cervical segments                 18%

                                                            trigeminal nerve                    15%

                                                            lumbosacral segments          8%

 The usual therapy consists of virostatic agents such as Acyclovir, Famciclovir, or Valaciclovir.

Materials and Methods 

Selection of Patients 

The study included 113 patients of both genders between ages 55 and 75.  Diseases were noted in the personal histories that suggested a reduced immune system.  Considerations included previous health disturbances within a timeframe of eight weeks and immunosuppressive treatment of up to two years before the onset of zoster disease.

The study extended to patients with thorax and upper lumbar zoster segments.

Therapy Applied

 Treatment began immediately after determining a diagnosis or suspected diagnoses.  Since the therapy is practically free of side effects, one could start treatment early, even on the basis of a suspected diagnosis.  Therapy was already introduced at the first signs of segmental neuralgia sine herpete.  It was shown that the earlier treatment was applied, the less frequently and less intensively post-herpetic neuralgia appeared.

 The major ozone autohemotherapy was carried out seven times, daily at the outset, later three times weekly, up to 10 times in total.  The dosage amounted to 3,000 mgr.  Since older patients were involved who were given ozone therapy for the first time, one began with a total dose of 1,000 mgr.

 Additionally one began with neural therapeutic injections at the corresponding dorsal ganglia without waiting for signs of efflorescence followed by injecting 20 mgr. of ozone[1] with the same needle.  Depending on segmental extension, 5-15 ccm of 1% procaine, 2-5 ccm per injection site was used as well as 2-5 ccm per 20 mgr of ozone per injection site.

Ozonized olive oil1 was applied twice daily at the slightest sign of a rash after cleaning the skin with alcohol.  It was then covered with Tegaderm foil.  If greater efflorescence appeared in combination with substantial pains, compresses with cooled ozonized1 water were used frequently.

 All patients were injected with zinc[2], vitamins[3] B1, B6, and B12 during the entire ozone therapy, and vitamin C as well as E[4] was prescribed.


 The study included 103 patients. Ages ranged between 56 and 75.

Herpes Zoster Treatment

 Figure 1:  Age distribution

 Case history indications of a weakened immune system were found in most patients.  These included increased colds, relapsing aphtae, after treatment with immunosuppressant medicines, and recently experienced emotional and/or physical distress.

 The duration of healing amounted to one to two weeks.  This period corresponds to the usual healing period when treated with virostatic agents.

 Neuralgic pains could be eased for the most part without taking painkillers.

 Pain management by combined ozone therapy proved to be especially advantageous.  The danger of post-zoster neuralgia emerging depends essentially at the moment when viralstatic therapy is started.  In order to minimize risk, it should begin as soon as possible.  If antiviral therapy begins only after a certain diagnosis by the appearance of typical efflorescence or after complications emerge, precious time is lost before starting the therapy.  The conditions may include intense neuralgic pains or zoster generalisatus as well as signs such as pain which become apparent before efflorescence or if one finds the clinical picture of a zoster sine herpete..  Thus the way is paved for possible development of post-zoster neuralgia.   Since ozone therapy has few side effects, it can already be used in case of a suspected diagnosis and hence prevent post-zoster neuralgia.

   E = After appearance of efflorescence
   D = Days after beginning of neuralgia but before appearance of efflorescence
   I  =  Immediately after beginning of neuralgic pain
    Total number of patients = 103

Figure 4:  Post-zoster neuralgia in relation to the onset of therapy

 The revitalizing effect that ozone therapy has on patients is worth mentioning.  When one considers the fact that the patients are older and weak, this desirable side effect is particularly welcome.

 In the sequence below, ozone therapy is compared with traditional types of therapy:

 Comparison between ozone therapy (OT) and traditional types of therapy (TT)

OT:     OT begins upon suspicion of zoster.

TT:     Causal therapy only upon final diagnosis, i.e., usually at appearance of efflorescence.

OT:     Immune-system stimulating or modulating effect.

TT:     No favorable effect on immune system.

            Antiphlogistic steps (corticosteroids) suppress the defense system.

OT:     Practically no side effects.

TT:     Virostatic agents (e.g., Acyclovir) can show considerable side effects.

OT:     It has a “strengthening“ effect on older, weakened patients.

TT:     No “strengthening“ effect.

OT:     It is more economical than TT.


  1. Beck, E.G., Viebahn-Hänsler, R. (Hrsg.) Ozon-Handbuch,  (Ecomed, Landsberg 1995), VIII-1.1 p.15, ISBN 3-609-76540-2.
  2. Bocci, V.,et al.,1993 “Studies oiological effects of ozone. 3. An attempt to define conditions for optimal induction of cytokines”. Lymphokine cytokine Res. 12 (1993) 121-126.
  3. Bocci, V., et al., 1993. “Studies on the biological effects of ozone. 4. Cytokine production and glutathione levels in human erythrocytes”. J. Biol. Regul. Homeost. Agents 7 (1993) 133-138.
  4. Cronholm L.S. et al. “Enteric virus survival in package plants and the upgrading of small treatment plants using ozone”,  Research Report No. 98, Water Resources Research Institute, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 1976.
  5. Mattassi, R. et al. :Ozontherapie bei Viruserkrankungen. Proceedings der Ärztlichen    Gesellschaft für Ozontherapie. Baden-Baden (1981)
  6. Mertens, M., and Trautmann, V. Klinische „Infektiologie“, Urban et Fischer (2000).
  7. Travell, J.G. and Simons, D.G.: “Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction”, Volume 1, Williams et Wilkins, (l983)

[1] The ozone as a local disinfection against virus attacks the “virion capsid”. So the virion cannot attach to the cell-wall.

1 The ozone as local disinfection against virus attacks the “virion capsid”. So the virion cannot attach to the cell-wall.

[2] Zinc deficiency prevents formation of endorphins and can therefore reduce the responsiveness to pain-killing treatment.

[3] According to Travell and Simons, a substitution therapy with vitamins B1, B6, and C was needed in case of half the patients with painful muscular trigger points in order to achieve a long-term easing of pain.

[4] Vitamins C and E become scavengers for the free radicals arising in case of infection.

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