Medications and related information for herpes treatment

Treatment for genital herpes

Treatment for genital herpes

Posted on 04. Jul, 2008 by Doctor in Herpes Treatment

There are three antiviral medications that are FDA-approved for the treatment of genital herpes:

Acyclovir
The oldest antiviral medication for herpes is acyclovir. Acyclovir is available as a generic drug and is also sold under the brand name Zovirax®. It has been available since 1982 in a topical form (as an ointment) and sold since 1985 in pill form. Acyclovir has been shown to be safe in persons who have used it continuously (every day) for as long as 10 years. (Buy Acyclovir Zovirax online)

Valacyclovir
A newer drug, valacyclovir (brand name Valtrex®), actually uses acyclovir as its active ingredient. This medication delivers acyclovir more efficiently so that the body absorbs much of the drug, which has the advantage of taking the medication fewer times during the day. (Buy Valacyclovir Valtrex online)

Famciclovir
Famciclovir (brand name Famvir®) utilizes penciclovir as its active ingredient to stop HSV from replicating. Like valacyclovir, it is well absorbed, persists for a longer time in the body, and can be taken less frequently than acyclovir.

Antiviral medication is commonly prescribed for patients having a first episode of genital herpes, but they can be used for recurrent episodes as well. There are two kinds of treatment regimens: episodic therapy and suppressive therapy. (Buy Famciclovir Famvir Online)

Episodic Therapy
In this approach, a person begins taking medication at the first sign of recurrence (or ideally at first signs of prodrome) and would continue for several days, in order to hasten the healing, or even prevent an outbreak from fully occurring. All three of the antiviral treatments mentioned above have been proven to help shorten the amount of time that a person may experience symptoms of herpes. However, keep in mind that results may vary from person to person.

Many people feel the advantages of using medication for recurrent episodes are marginal compared with use in a primary episode. But for others, episodic therapy offers a useful way to manage outbreaks by cutting the length of an outbreak by a day or two, on average. The benefits may be greater for those whose outbreaks tend to last longer.

Also, episodic therapy has its best results when treatment begins at the very first sign of prodrome. If lesions are already present, therapy may offer little benefit. Because the medications differ in their absorption rate and duration of effectiveness, dosages vary with episodic therapy treatment ranging from one to five pills every day for three to five days during an outbreak.

Suppressive Therapy
People with genital herpes who want to eliminate (suppress) outbreaks altogether can take antiviral medication daily to hold HSV in check so that it’s less likely to flare up and cause symptoms. For individuals who have frequent recurrences (six or more per year), studies have shown that suppressive therapy can reduce the number of outbreaks by at least 75% while the medication is being taken. Also, for some, taking an antiviral on a daily basis can prevent outbreaks altogether.

While antivirals can be successful in controlling herpes symptoms, researchers also have turned their attention to the important issue of antiviral therapy and asymptomatic shedding. Does suppressive therapy lower the risk of unrecognized herpes reactivation as well as curb recognized outbreaks? One study addressing this question found that women on suppressive acyclovir (400 mg, twice daily) had a 94% reduction in subclinical shedding while taking daily therapy. This type of study has also been done with famciclovir and valacyclovir, yielding similar reductions in both men and women.

Suppressive therapy has been studied in thousands of patients and it appears to be both safe and effective. Because the medications differ in their absorption rate and duration of effectiveness, dosages vary with suppressive therapy treatment ranging from one to two pills every day.

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