And Now A Word About Over
If you are concerned about cost-effective utilization of medications , a bigger source of wasted pharmaceutical dollars is over-prescribing. If any medication is prescribed to a patient who has no chance of benefiting from that prescription, then that money has been absolutely wasted! The obvious example is antibiotics prescribed for viral illnesses. In my experience, drugs for Herpes are often prescribed inappropriately both in correctional facilities and in the community at large. Here are some mistakes I have seen:
1. Prescribing anti-virals for non-herpetic problems. Patients sometimes do not know exactly what genital herpes is. They sometimes will say I have herpes but if you look, they really have a genital wart or fungal crotch rot or pickin pox or even a syphilitic chancre! The key here is looking. Herpes, of course, has a characteristic appearance that is unlike any other lesion you will see on the groin: a bunch of blisters on a red base. Anything else is something else and will not benefit from valacyclovir.
2. Prescribing acyclovir or valacyclovir too late in the illness.
Too late to treat
The herpetic anti-virals only have clinical efficacy if they are prescribed within the first 48 hours of the outbreakeven better in the first 24 hours. At this stage, the blisters look like blisters. During the several day course of the illness, the blisters will rupture and weep and then crust over and finally resolve.
How Is Herpes Diagnosed
The herpes virus is almost always spread through sexual intercourse, oral sex, or kissing. Although sometimes HSV-1 can spread via shared lip balm, utensils, or other items that come in contact with saliva.
In most cases, healthcare providers can diagnose herpes with a visual examination and by discussing various symptoms. If theres any doubt, they can take a viral culture to confirm, which involves lab analysis of a swab or scraping.
If the patient has no history of herpes simplex and is a new patient, I always do a viral culture, says , MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics. Also, if I am suspicious of HSV-2 or if it is an immunocompromised patient, I will order a viral culture. I start treatment right away before results come back. These results can take one week and it is best to start treatment early.
But again, symptoms arent always present. Fortunately, its also possible to diagnose HSV with a blood test. Your body produces antibodies to combat viruses, and doctors can use a blood sample to detect the specific antibodies that fight the herpes simplex virus.
A primary care physician can perform the examinations and tests necessary for an accurate diagnosis. However, sexual health clinics offer similar, reliable services.
Do Condoms Help Prevent The Spread Of Genital Herpes
Yes. To prevent transmission of herpes, we recommend that condoms be used 100% of the time. Many patients will shed the virus and be contagious when they dont have symptoms. Studies have shown that asymptomatic shedding occurs between 1% and 3% of the time in patients with HSV II genital infections. Many new herpes infections occur from partners who are shedding the virus asymptomatically, so condoms are highly recommended.
Condoms may not be an attractive option for monogamous couples or for couples who desire to become pregnant. Couples may opt to have serological tests to determine if either partner has an asymptomatic infection. In close monogamous relationships, the risks of transmission can be weighed against other relationship issues, such as intimacy and pregnancy.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Herpes
Some risk factors for herpes may include:
-Having unprotected sex
-Having sex with multiple partners
-Kissing someone with a herpes virus that is active
-Abuse of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs
-Spreading the virus by touching a cold sore and then touching something else
-Having an autoimmune disorder or illness, such as hepatitis or HIV/AIDS
-Poor eating habits that cause nutritional deficiencies
Can Genital Herpes Be Treated
Your physician can prescribe different medications to help reduce your symptoms and speed up the healing of an outbreak. These medicines work best when you start them soon after an outbreak occurs.
To reduce pain during an outbreak:
- Sit in warm water in a portable bath or bathtub for about 20 minutes. Avoid bubble baths.
- Keep your genital area clean and dry, and avoid tight clothes.
- Take over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Avoid aspirin.
Let your physician know if you are worried about your genital herpes. He or she can recommend a support group to help you cope with the virus.
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How Should I Take Valacyclovir Tablets
- Take valacyclovir tablets exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Your dose of valacyclovir tablets and length of treatment will depend on the type of herpes infection that you have and any other medical problems that you have.
- Do not stop valacyclovir tablets or change your treatment without talking to your healthcare provider.
- Valacyclovir tablets can be taken with or without food.If you are taking valacyclovir tablets to treat cold sores, chickenpox, shingles or genital herpes, you should start treatment as soon as possible after your symptoms start. Valacyclovir tablets may not help you if you start treatment too late.
- If you miss a dose of valacyclovir tablets, take it as soon as you remember and then take your next dose at its regular time. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, do not take the missed dose. Wait and take the next dose at the regular time.
- Do not take more than the prescribed number of valacyclovir tablets each day. Call your healthcare provider right away if you take too much valacyclovir tablets.
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What Do I Need To Know About Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection marked by genital pain and sores. It is estimated that 491 million people aged 15â49 worldwide have an HSV-2 infection.
It is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 , a type of Herpes Simplex Virus . Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 usually causes oral herpes and is markedly different from HSV-2.
Most HSV-2 infections are asymptomatic , but common symptoms of genital herpes can include:
- Pain or itching in the genital region
- Small red bumps or tiny white blisters
- Sores on the vaginal area, external genitals, or cervix
Symptoms will manifest differently in different people and with each herpes outbreak. An outbreak refers to a noticeable flare-up of symptoms, usually referencing when sores appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum, or mouth. There are two main types of herpes: HSV-1 and HSV-2. These are two different yet similar viruses. The table below gives an overview of the differences between HSV-1 and HSV-2, including transmission and defining symptoms.
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How Do I Use Valacyclovir
Valacyclovir can be used as an episodic therapy or suppressive therapy to treat genital herpes. As an episodic therapy, valacyclovir can treat an individual breakout as it occurs, if the treatment is started within one day of noticing symptoms. As suppressive therapy, valacyclovir is taken on a daily basis to help keep breakouts from occurring. This is often recommended for people who experience frequent or severe recurrences, or would like to reduce the risk of transmission to a sexual partner. A doctor will evaluate you and determine if either approach is appropriate for you.
Valtrex Vs Acyclovir: Which Is Better For Cold Sores
Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are small painful blisters that appear on the lips or around the mouth. They are caused by type one herpes simplex virus .
Herpes is highly contagious and spreads through close contact such as kissing or sexual contact.
It can also spread by sharing an infected persons utensils, razors, or towels.
In this article, Ill discuss how antivirals help cold sores and how valacylovir compares with acyclovir.
Ill explain the effectiveness of valacyclovir and acyclovir as well as the side effects and costs of both medications.
Finally, Ill discuss which is better for cold sores.
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How Do Antivirals Treat Cold Sores
Antiviral medications dont kill viruses directly.
Instead, they stop them by inhibiting their ability to develop and multiply.
In essence, antivirals treat cold sores by limiting how much the herpes virus can grow and spread, which reduces the intensity of symptoms.
Different antivirals have unique mechanisms of action.
Heres how valacyclovir and acyclovir treat cold sores.
How Does Valacyclovir Work
Valacyclovir works by slowing, stopping, or disrupting the growth of certain viruses, which are dormant in infected individuals most of the time. When these viruses activate, valacyclovir is taken to prevent the virus from multiplying and spreading to healthy cells . This helps to decrease the severity of the outbreak, and shorten the duration of the outbreak.
Valacyclovir helps to heal genital herpes sores, cold sores, shingles sores, and chickenpox sores faster. It also helps to prevent new sores from forming. Valacyclovir also reduces pain and itching associated with sores and may reduce the length of time pain lingers after sores have healed.
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How To Get Rid Of Chlamydia In Males
Chlamydia in males is caused by a bacterial infection. This infection is mostly treated with oral antibiotics. The most effective and recommended treatment for chlamydia is the prescribing of Azithromycin or Doxycycline. After treatment, usually the infection will clear in 7 to 14 days. The recommended dosage should be finished for infection to be completely cleared. For treatment to be most effective, it is recommended that both partner complete treatment and abstain from any sexual contact for at least 7 days after completing their treatment.
How Will My Healthcare Provider Know If I Have Genital Herpes
Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at any sores that are present. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. If sores are not present, a blood test may be used to look for HSV antibodies.
Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider about herpes testing and other STDs.
Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or when you got the infection.
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How Common Is Genital Herpes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40 million to 50 million adults in the United States have genital herpes. HSV II infection is more common in women and in people who have had more than five sexual partners. Most people with HSV II do not know they have it, because it does not always cause symptoms.
What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Women
Like men, women who have HSV-1 or HSV-2 may have no symptoms or signs of the infection. Some women may only have an initial outbreak and no other recurring symptoms. Others may have chronic recurring outbreaks of the herpes virus, and some women may not have an outbreak for months or even years after they have first been infected.
In the first herpes outbreak, symptoms usually start within 2 weeks of contracting the virus. The initial symptoms may include:
-Around the buttocks or thighs
-Inside the cervix or urinary tract
Is There A Way To Prevent Getting Herpes
You can protect yourself and your partner by taking steps to prevent an outbreak of herpes. Some things that you can do include:
-If you already have herpes, dont have sex until the outbreak is completely gone, even with a condom.
-Try to learn the signs of an impending outbreak, such as itching, tingling and burning, and stop having sex as soon as you notice.
-If you wear contact lenses, dont wet your lenses with your saliva. This could spread your herpes infection to your eyes.
-Dont have sex with your partner until your herpes sores are completely healed.
-Always tell your partner if you are infected with the herpes virus before you have sex. Even though it can be embarrassing and difficult, herpes is very common, and telling your partner will help keep the infection from spreading.
Antiviral Drug Reduces Genital Herpes Transmission Between Sexual Partners By 50 Percent
SEATTLE â Dec. 31, 2003 â An international team of researchers finds that taking a single daily dose of an approved antiviral drug known as valacyclovir can reduce the transmission of genital herpes to uninfected partners by 50 percent. The results are published in the Jan. 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The team of researchers led by Dr. Larry Corey, a member of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research, conducted a study of nearly 1,500 heterosexual monogamous couples in which one partner had genital herpes and the other did not. Infected partners who received a standard daily oral dose each day of valacyclovir were half as likely to transmit herpes simplex type 2 than infected partners given a placebo.
University of Washington collaborators included Dr. Anna Wald, associate professor of medicine and laboratory medicine, and Dr. R. Ashley Morrow, professor of laboratory medicine.
The strategy potentially could be applied to combat the spread of other sexually transmitted diseases that are caused by viruses.
This is the first demonstration that an antiviral drug can prevent a viral sexually transmitted disease, said Corey, also a professor of laboratory medicine at UW and head of Fred Hutchinsons infectious diseases program. The study provides the conceptual framework to extend other viral sexually transmitted diseases, such has HIV infection.
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Order Herpes Medication On Your Terms
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Drug Interactions Of Acyclovir Vs Valacyclovir
Acyclovir and valacyclovir are known to have negative effects on both the kidneys and the liver. For this reason, both drugs may be dangerous to take with drugs that are also nephrotoxic or hepatotoxic. In some cases, the risk is so severe that the concurrent use with these drugs is contraindicated. This is the case with cidofovir. Other drugs are strongly discouraged from being used concomitantly with acyclovir or valacyclovir for the same concerns. These include capreomycin, foscarnet, and mannitol.
Vaccinations against varicella and zoster have significantly decreased outbreaks of these viruses. However, the administration of live attenuated vaccines depend on the bodys immune system and natural response to the vaccine to produce antibodies in order to be effective. For that reason, acyclovir and valacyclovir should not be administered within a specific window before and after administering these vaccines. Your healthcare provider can provide more specific information prior to your vaccine.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all potential drug interactions. Please ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information and be sure they know all prescription drugs and supplements you are taking prior to beginning antiviral therapy.
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Genital Herpes And Pregnancy
Its really important to speak to a healthcare worker if you have herpes during pregnancy, especially if its your first outbreak. Theres a risk that your baby can develop neonatal herpes which can be very dangerous or even fatal for the baby. If you have herpes, your healthcare provider will be able to prescribe antiviral treatment to keep your baby safe and help you have a healthy pregnancy.
Speak to a healthcare worker for more information or if you have any concerns.
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Shop Around For The Lowest Price
The price of 60 acyclovir tablets can vary by as much as $50 depending on the pharmacy. Compare prices with a SingleCare savings coupon and the discount can be as much as $60 off the average retail price. SingleCares pharmacy finder can help you locate local pharmacies that give SingleCare discounts.
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How Effective Are Medications For Herpes
Prescription antiviral medications have proven effectiveness in managing HSV symptoms.
A 2017 study comparing the antiviral medications acyclovir, famciclovir, penciclovir and valacyclovir to treat herpes simplex labialis found all antiviral medications were effective to shorten healing time for lesions and reducing pain. The comparison study found valacyclovir had the fastest healing time and pain reduction.