Treatment For Oral Herpes
The antiviral medications available in pill form have been specifically developed for the treatment of genital herpes. However, it is not uncommon for healthcare providers to prescribe the antiviral drugs to those who have frequent or severe outbreaks of oral herpes.
A recent study found valacyclovir to be effective for treating oral herpes in a one-day treatment of 2 grams taken at the first sign of a cold sore, and then again about 12 hours later.
There are two topical antiviral medications prescribed for the treatment of oral HSV symptoms: acyclovir ointment and penciclovir cream. Both work to speed up the healing process and reduce the viral activity. These topical drugs are put directly on the lesions themselves, but can also be used at the onset of prodrome.
Other topical treatments for oral herpes are available over-the-counter , but are not antiviral compounds like acyclovir and penciclovir. Some also contain ingredients that numb the area and induce temporary relief from the discomfort of an outbreak. Unfortunately, some OTC treatments may actually delay the healing time of symptoms because they can further irritate the area with repeated applications. There is only one OTC FDA-approved cream, called Abreva®, which has been clinically proven to help speed the healing process.
When Treatments For Genital Herpes Are Given
- Initial treatment. If you have symptoms such as sores when you’re first diagnosed with genital herpes, your doctor will usually give you a brief course of antiviral therapy to relieve them or prevent them from getting worse. Your doctor may keep you on the drugs longer if the sores don’t heal in that time.
After the first treatment, work with your doctor to come up with the best way to take antiviral therapies. There are two options:
- Intermittent treatment. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug for you to keep on hand in case you have another flare-up this is called intermittent therapy. You can take the pills for two to five days as soon as you notice sores or when you feel an outbreak coming on. Sores will heal and disappear on their own, but taking the drugs can make the symptoms less severe and make them go away faster.
- Suppressive treatment. If you have outbreaks often, you may want to consider taking an antiviral drug every day. Doctors call this suppressive therapy. For someone who has more than six outbreaks a year, suppressive therapy can reduce the number of outbreaks by 70% to 80%. Many people who take the antiviral drugs daily have no outbreaks at all.
There is no set number of outbreaks per year that doctors use to decide when someone should start suppressive therapy. Rather, more important factors are how often the outbreaks happen and if they are severe enough to interfere with your life.
What Can You Expect When Visiting A Doctor For Ocular Herpes Diagnosis
Ocular or eye herpes can be often misdiagnosed during early stages. Documenting your symptoms and when they occurred can help you receive a more accurate diagnosis. You should bring these notes to your doctors appointment and be prepared to answer questions about your medical history.
In most cases during your diagnosis appointment you can expect the following 3 things:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
The symptoms of genital herpes vary a lot. Most people have very mild symptoms or none at all.
Symptoms can vary from a mild area of irritation to more painful blisters or sores and generally feeling unwell. Common symptoms may include:
- sometimes sores on the cervix
If you are having a first episode of genital herpes, you are more likely to also feel generally unwell and have fever, headache and general bone and muscle aches.
This may last for several days, during or after which reddened areas may appear on your genitals. These may develop into painful blisters. The blisters then burst, generally to leave sores that gradually heal, usually without scarring.
The severity of this first episode varies between people, but for some it may be severe and last for up to 3 weeks if not treated. These symptoms should quickly resolve with treatment. There is effective treatment available if symptoms are problematic.
Valacyclovir For Genital Herpes
The antiviral medication valacyclovir is a pill that lessens the frequency and symptoms of genital herpes, and reduces the chance that youll pass the virus to a partner. You can take valacyclovir when you feel an outbreak coming on to lessen symptoms, or take a dose every day for prevention. Taking this medication every day reduces the likelihood of transmitting genital herpes to a partner by 50%. Valacyclovir is safe and effective, side effects are rare.Note: We only prescribe medication if youve previously had a genital herpes diagnosis. If you havent been diagnosed with herpes we suggest you see your local provider for diagnosis during your next outbreak.
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Can You Cure Herpes
Unfortunately, theres no cure for herpes. The virus stays inactive in your body and activates from time to time to cause outbreaks, months or even years after youre first infected. This is when you get symptoms. Antiviral medication for herpes can only help control the outbreaks or suppress the virus.
Acyclovir May Cause Side Effects Tell Your Doctor If Any Of These Symptoms Are Severe Or Do Not Go Away:
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms or legs
- temporary inability to move parts of your body
- shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control
- loss of consciousness
Acyclovir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking or using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .
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Are Antiviral Medications Safe
Antiviral medications are considered to be very safe. They are nearly always well tolerated because the active ingredients only have an effect in cells that have been infected by the virus.
People who have kidney failure may need to take a lower dose because the medication is removed from the body through the kidneys.
Valacyclovir Dosage For Genital Herpes
If you have genital herpes, youll understand how stressful an outbreak can be. People infected with genital herpes can experience four to five outbreaks of the virus per year, making it vital to have medication like valacyclovir on hand in the event you notice herpes lesions developing.
Like oral herpes, valacyclovir is highly effective at treating genital herpes and speeding up the healing process.
Genital herpes occurs in two phases. After being infected with the virus, most people will have an initial outbreak a powerful outbreak of the virus that can result in severe symptoms. After this, genital herpes presents itself in recurring outbreaks every few months.
The typical dose of valacyclovir used to treat an initial outbreak of genital herpes is 1,000 mg taken two times per day. This twice-daily 1,000 mg dosage usually continues over 10 days as the herpes outbreak retreats and the lesions close, scab and heal.
During a very severe initial outbreak of genital herpes, your doctor might recommend taking valacyclovir over a longer period.
For recurring genital herpes, the typical dosage of valacyclovir is 500 mg taken twice daily for three days.
As with cold sores, valacyclovir is most effective at treating genital herpes when its taken as early as possible during an outbreak. Taken early, consistently and at the right dose, use of valacyclovir can make dealing with a difficult genital herpes outbreak more manageable.
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Is There A Cure For Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, its a lifelong infection.
What is the outlook for people with herpes simplex?
For many people, the first herpes outbreak is the most severe. Many outbreaks are less frequent and milder after the first year of infection. Some people may have only one outbreak and never have another again.
What Are The Treatment Options For Genital Herpes
Treatment with antiviral medication is a good idea the very first time people have an outbreak of genital herpes. Later outbreaks are often milder, and then medication isnt always needed. Preventive treatment may be considered if the outbreaks are frequent.
Genital herpes may clear up on its own. But the symptoms are often more severe the first time you have an outbreak. Most people then use antiviral medication to relieve the symptoms and prevent complications. These medications include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir.
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Order Antiviral Treatments For Herpes
If you have genital herpes, you can get an online prescription for antiviral herpes medication discreetly and easily. Our doctor’s prescribe aciclovir, valaciclovir or famciclovir via our online service.
Order for a herpes outbreak: if you have a flare-up of symptoms, you can get a short course of medication to help control the outbreak.
Order to prevent outbreaks: if you get outbreaks more than 6 times a year or find your symptoms are hard to deal with, you can have suppressive treatment. This is where you take a low dose of antiviral medication every day to help prevent outbreaks.
Order a herpes test: if you need to check if youre a carrier of herpes, you can order a herpes test online now.
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What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to acyclovir.
Do not let anyone else take or use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy
Genital herpes doesnt affect fertility or your ability to conceive. Pregnant women diagnosed with herpes genitalis should start a daily antiviral at 36 weeks of pregnancy to prevent outbreaks during delivery. If you have an active infection at the time of childbirth, you can pass the herpes virus to your baby. Neonatal herpes puts a baby at risk for blindness, brain damage, skin infections and death. Your healthcare provider will perform a cesarean section to lower this risk.
Foods To Avoid During Herpes
Here are some foods that you might not eat if you have herpes:
Arginine and Acidity
Arginine is an amino acid that is plentiful in specific foods and can increase the potential that you will experience a herpes blister, either genital or oral. L-lysine is another amino acid that has anti-viral properties and can help reduce the effect of arginine and your potential for an outbreak. However, lysine has acidic properties, and when taken with acid-rich foods like dairy products or sweets, it can lead to hyperacidity in the body. This imbalance can also trigger an outbreak.
Foods that are sweet or have sugar are high in the amino acid arginine. This includes chocolate and raisins. Other foods that are high in sugar include soft drinks and foods made with high fructose corn syrup, such as popsicles, fruit juices, some breakfast cereals, candy bars, cough syrups, drink mixes, ketchup and jams and jellies. Each of these products contains sugars and syrups that will increase your risk of developing new herpes lesions.
Nuts are high in arginine and low in lysine, increasing your potential for an outbreak so avoid peanuts and peanut butter because of the high amount of arginine in the products. Other nuts are also high in arginine, such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, pecans and walnuts.
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What Is Herpes Simplex
Herpes simplex is a virus that causes skin infections. The infection lasts your lifetime, and it causes painful or itchy sores and blisters that come and go. Herpes simplex virus typically doesnt cause severe problems. But it can be dangerous in infants and people with weakened immune systems. There are two types of herpes simplex:
- Herpes simplex 1 tends to affect your mouth or face. It causes cold sores. HSV-1 spreads through contact with saliva .
- Herpes simplex 2 is a sexually transmitted disease . It causes sores on skin that comes in contact with the genitals of an infected person.
Sometimes a herpes infection can affect other parts of your body, such as your eyes or other parts of your skin.
How Long Does It Take For The Medication To Work
All antiviral herpes medications begin to work quickly, which is why they should be taken as close as possible to the first emergence of symptoms.
This will give the medications the best chance to reduce the severity of the outbreak, and to speed up the resolution of an outbreak .
When taken within the first three days of an initial genital herpes outbreak, antiviral medications can shorten the lifespan of the outbreak by two to four days.
During later occurrences, these medications can shorten the lifespan of these outbreaks by 1-2 days.
Many people with HSV-2 do not experience regular genital herpes outbreaks.
But for people who do experience several episodes per year, preventative treatment can make a big difference.
In clinical studies, many patients who begin daily preventative treatment, go on to experience zero genital herpes outbreaks over the course of the following year.
Preventative antivirals can even help those patients who experience especially frequent and painful outbreaks of genital herpes.
In one study of this population, for instance, preventative antivirals were shown to reduce the average number of yearly outbreaks from 11 to 2.
Its important to remember, though, that none of these medications can completely cure herpes or eliminate the HSV virus from the body.
While preventative medicines, especially, can make it less likely that youll pass on the infection to sexual partners, it cannot completely eliminate this risk.
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When Is Preventive Treatment Considered
Some people have outbreaks of genital herpes very often or experience especially severe symptoms. Then it may be a good idea to take antiviral medication for a longer time including during symptom-free phases. The goal is to prevent further outbreaks and to keep the symptoms from becoming so severe. Also, the antiviral medication reduces the likelihood of infecting others. As preventive treatment, the WHO recommends the following:
- aciclovir: 400 mg two times per day,
- famciclovir: 250 mg two times per day or
- valaciclovir: 500 mg once per day.
Research shows that preventive treatment can considerably lower the risk of further outbreaks. The people participating had four or more herpes outbreaks per year before the start of the studies, and then took an antiviral medication or a fake treatment for up to one year. A comprehensive analysis of the study results shows that
- 96 out of 100 people who took a placebo had at least one further outbreak of genital herpes.
- 46 out of 100 people who were given antiviral medication had at least one further outbreak of genital herpes.
In other words, the medication prevented further outbreaks in 50 out of 100 people within one year.
People with very frequent herpes outbreaks also benefited from preventive treatment: In one study involving people with very frequent outbreaks, the medication lowered the number of episodes in one year from 11 to 2.
When Is Treatment Necessary
Herpes can cause blisters to form on or around the mouth or genitals. These blisters then break, forming open, painful sores that may take at least 1 week to heal.
The symptoms may clear up on their own, and they may reappear later, in what some people call outbreaks or flare ups.
Once the virus enters the body, it never completely goes away. Some triggers that can cause herpes symptoms to reappear include:
- friction in the genital area
- a weakened immune system
Doctors may prescribe one of the following antiviral medications to help manage herpes symptoms. A person can also take some steps at home to ease the symptoms, and we describe these later in the article.
Please note, the writer has not tested these products. All information is research-based.
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New Or Initial Genital Herpes Infections
When a person is first infected with the herpes virus, if symptoms occur they usually develop within the first two weeks of virus transmission. Symptoms can include fever and flu-like symptoms, genital itching, burning and discomfort, vaginal discharge, swollen lymph nodes, and a feeling of abdominal pressure.