The objective of this article is to provide evidence-based recommendations for the management of patients with herpes zoster (HZ) that take into account clinical efficacy, adverse effects, impact on quality of life, and costs of treatment. Systematic literature reviews, published randomized clinical trials, existing guidelines, and the authors' clinical and research experience relevant to the management of patients with HZ were reviewed at a consensus meeting. The results of controlled trials and the clinical experience of the authors support the use of acyclovir, brivudin (where available), famciclovir, and valacyclovir as first-line antiviral therapy for the treatment of patients with HZ. Specific recommendations for the use of these medications are provided. In addition, suggestions are made for treatments that, when used in combination with antiviral therapy, may further reduce pain and other complications of HZ. © 2006 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.