Herpes Medication
How Do They Work?

Herpes medication is also known as antiviral herpes medicines. Anti-viral drugs are not the same as gonorrhea medications or other STD medications. Antiviral medicines for treating the herpes simplex virus were first used in 1985. Twenty-five years later advances in medical science have helped people control the virus and gain a better quality of life.

These drugs work to prevent the growth of the herpes simplex virus so your body can fight off the infection. They do this by disrupting the process that the herpes virus uses to replicate itself and spreads to new cells. Although they will not cure herpes they can be used to prevent or reduce other painful outbreaks. Additionally they can even suppress the virus from reactivating.

Currently there are three FDA approved antiviral herpes medications available, Acyclovir (Zovirax), Valacyclovir (Valtrex) and Famciclovir (Famvir). These are usually taken by mouth but are occasionally given to people with severe cases of genital herpes through an IV. All three drugs can be taken daily to prevent large quantities of the virus from building up causing herpes blisters and sores. Some people have also found that taking Valtrex reduces the amount of time that they can spread the virus from asymptomatic viral shedding.

How Often Should You Take Herpes Medication?

The amount of time and the frequency that you should take antivirals herpes medications depends on the specific drug and whether you are taking them for the treatment of a primary outbreak, recurrent outbreak, or for suppressive therapy.

If you choose to use one of these drugs you should begin taking it as soon as possible after prodromal symptoms are first noticed in order for them to be most effective. You should also continue using the drugs until the symptoms go away completely. This usually amounts to five to seven days.

If you have six recurring outbreaks or more per year then you have the choice to take the herpes medications everyday for suppressive therapy. Suppressive therapy is especially helpful for people who cannot control the virus through diet, exercise and stress management. Suppressive therapy treatment also helps to significantly reduce the number of outbreaks and their duration by 70%-80%.

Alacyclovir and famciclovir are better absorbed by the stomach so they can be taken less often than acyclovir.

Treatment plans consisting primarily of herpes medications will vary between different people so you may have to experiment with each to find the one that provides you with the best results. The most popular genital herpes medicine is Famciclovir, Acyclovir and Valacyclovir.

Although these antiviral drugs will not cure the herpes simplex virus they can be used to control the virus and prevent transmitting it.

All three FDA approved antiviral drugs are very effective at treating the herpes virus. Treatment choices will vary greatly between different people and doctors but typically there are three ways taking genital herpes medications can help you.

1. The Initial Genital Herpes Outbreak: Generally the first outbreak of the genital herpes virus is the most severe. Therefore, antiviral medications are highly recommended for an initial outbreak. Medications are normally prescribed for a seven to ten day cycle. Taking antiviral medication during at this time can dramatically reduce its severity by healing the herpes blisters faster, reducing pain, lessens other symptoms such as fever and swollen glands. Viral shedding is also reduced.

2. Episodic Therapy: Episodic therapy simply means to begin taking antiviral medications at the very first signs of a herpes outbreak. By using episodic therapy you will shorten the duration of the outbreak and other symptoms by fast healing of the herpes blisters and sores. Greater benefits are experienced if the therapy is started well before the herpes blisters appear. Frequently, the prompt use of a genital herpes medicine during the prodromal symptoms or the early warning stage of herpes can stop a herpes outbreak before the blisters appear. Episodic therapy is recommended for those who experience early warning signs or prodromal symptoms and have severe or prolonged recurring outbreaks. Outbreaks are typically reduced from 7-10 days to 3-4 days.

3. Daily or Suppressive Therapy: People who take antiviral medications everyday for extended period of time can drastically reduce the chance of recurring herpes outbreaks or prevent them all together. It is estimated that approximately 20% of people who are on a suppressive therapy will not have an outbreak for five years or more. On average, during the first year outbreaks are reduced from six to two and further reduced to only one per year by the end of the fifth year. Suppressive therapy is recommended for those people who suffer six or more outbreaks per year or those people who want to reduce the chance of spreading the virus to an uninfected partner.

As you can see there are benefits and costs for all three methods antiviral drugs are used to treat genital herpes outbreaks. You should explore and experiment with the different treatment methods for your unique situation and HSV type. For example, a person suffering from genital HSV1 would normally use Episodic therapy and would not benefit much from using a daily suppressive therapy regimen because after the initial outbreak, recurrences are uncommon. On the flip side of this, over 90% of people with HSV2 have an average of six to thirteen reoccurring outbreaks per year. So daily suppressive therapy may be your best choice if you fall into that category.

Exciting Herpes Medication Research

Although more research is needed, there is exciting research studies that have been conducted that shows a person who takes valacyclovir daily in the doses used for suppressive therapy, reduces the risk of infecting his or her partner. Other antiviral drugs may also help reduce transmission.

There have been documented rare cases where the genital herpes virus has developed a resistance to some antiviral meds. People who have impaired immune systems and who have taken antiviral meds for an extended period of time appear to be at the greatest risk for resistance.

To sum all of this up, you have your choice of options available. Any of the herpes medicines listed here will make your life much easier. There is no right or wrong answer for everybody. Listen to what your body is telling you. Research all your treatment options and discuss them your doctor. Then choose the one that’s right for you. If it doesn’t work then choose another! You don’t have to let genital herpes control you. By taking the right genital herpes medication, you CAN control herpes and live a normal and healthy life. It is your choice!

Prescription medicine is preferred and provides most people a very effective treatment for genital herpes. The three antiviral drugs are all equally safe for use by a person who has a normal immune system and kidney functions.

Although the costs for these drugs can be quite draining on your bank account and the possible embarrassing interaction with your local neighborhood pharmacist, genital herpes medications are a treatment option that you should heavily consider



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Learn More About Genital Herpes Medication


Know the Side Effects of Valtrex or Valacyclovir

Learn More About The Side Effects of Famciclovir

Learn More About Acyclovir Side Effects

Learn About The Recommended Herpes Medication Dosage Requirements

Learn Genital Herpes Treatments

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