Ramsay Hunt syndrome (herpes zoster oticus) occurs when a shingles infection affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. In addition to the painful shingles rash, Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause facial paralysis ( more severe than Bell’s palsy) and hearing loss in the affected ear as well as loss of taste in the anterior 2/3 of tongue.
The key to recovery from Ramsay Hunt syndrome is the prompt and effective treatment of the varicella zoster virus. Anti-viral medications such as Valtrex, Acyclovir, or Famciclovir are recommended for 7 to 10 days along with strong anti-inflamatory steroids (such as Prednisolone/Prednisone) for 3 to 5 days which are tapered off in about a week or more. Although steroids are usually recommended for the treatment of these acute symptoms and complications, new studies question the effectiveness and viability of this course of action. In patients at risk, blood pressure, blood glucose and electrolytes should be monitored throughout the treatment.