How Long To Take Them
For the treatment of herpes infections, the usual course of treatment is five days. However in some instances your doctor may want you to take your tablets for ten days.
For prevention of herpes infections, you should continue to take this medicine every day as prescribed by your doctor.
Do not stop taking Valtrex tablets just because you feel better. The herpes outbreak may not be completely over.
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Avoid The Following While You Are Using Acyclovir Buccal Delayed
- Do not chew gum, touch, or press the buccal tablet after it has been applied.
- Do not wear upper dentures.
- Do not brush your teeth until it dissolves. If your teeth need to be cleaned while the tablet is in place, rinse the mouth gently.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
Your symptoms should improve during your treatment with acyclovir. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
Take or use acyclovir until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop taking acyclovir too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated or may become more difficult to treat. The delayed-release buccal tablet is applied as a one-time dose.
Which Herpes Medication Is Best
In the war between valacyclovir vs. acyclovir vs. famciclovir, the truth is, there is no best herpes medication. All three of the drugs are safe and proven to be effective as treatments for HSV-1, HSV-2, shingles and other forms of the herpes virus.
If you think you might have herpes, the best approach is to speak to your doctor about treatment options. Your doctor will be able to provide advice on the most effective drug for treating herpes based on your symptoms, immune system, lifestyle and overall health.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standardshere.
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Why You Should Go To A Sexual Health Clinic
You can see a GP, but they’ll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you might have genital herpes.
Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system.
Many sexual health clinics offer a walk-in service, where you do not need an appointment.
They’ll often get test results quicker than GP practices and you do not have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.
What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic
The doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic will:
- ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
- use a small cotton bud to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing
The test cannot:
- be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
- tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from
Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after you’re infected with the herpes virus.
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Genital Herpes Is Spread By Skin
The virus can be spread when someone with HSV has an episode or an outbreak characterised by having a sore, blister, ulcer or skin split . It can also be spread between episodes, when there is no sore, blister, ulcer or skin split present called asymptomatic viral shedding.
During viral shedding the virus is on the skin surface and can be spread through genital skin-to-skin contact, or from the mouth or face to genital skin during contact.
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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Recurrent Episodes Of Genital Herpes
Recurrences are usually less painful and shorter in duration than the first episode of genital herpes. Over time, episodes usually become less frequent and may eventually stop altogether. Infections caused by HSV1 are less likely to recur in the genital area than infections caused by HSV2.
Recurrences may be triggered by:
- no apparent reason noted.
Is It Safe To Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes
Yes- as long as there is no open lesion on chest or breast . If you have an active outbreak while breastfeeding, its possible to spread the infection to your nipples through touch. Careful hand-washing can prevent this spread. You shouldnt nurse from a breast that has herpes sores. You can pump breast milk until the sores heal. Dont give your baby expressed breast milk if the pump comes into contact with an open sore.
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Herpes Causes And Risk Factors
Causes of herpes include acquiring the virus through sexual contact, coupled with immune system suppression and sometimes nutritional deficiencies.
HSV-1 is primarily transmitted by oral-oral contact. On the other hand, HSV-2 is considered a sexually transmitted disease and usually passed during oral or vaginal sex.
A scary finding is that more cases of genital herpes than ever before are now being caused by HSV-1 , and about 85 percent of people with genital herpes dont even know it. Studies show that about 50 percent of the new genital herpes infections in young adults are due to HSV-1 and about 40 percent in older adults. The fact that most people dont ever find out theyre infected is one of the reasons that transmission rates are steadily climbing.
Risk factors for acquiring herpes include:
- Kissing someone who has symptoms of an active herpes virus
- Engaging in any form of unprotected sex
- Having sex with multiple partners
- Spreading the virus through contact with cold sores on the eyes, secretions on the fingers, or ulcers/sores on buttocks and upper thighs
- Having certain other illnesses that lower immune function, such as HIV/AIDS, an autoimmune disorder or hepatitis
- Eating a poor diet that causes nutrient deficiencies and lowered immunity
- Smoking cigarettes, drinking high amounts of alcohol or abusing drugs
How Can I Prevent Herpes Outbreaks
If you have lots of herpes outbreaks, your doctor may tell you to take medicine every day this is called suppressive therapy. It can help prevent future herpes outbreaks, and lower your chances of giving herpes to your partners.
Whether or not you take medicine to treat herpes, taking care of yourself by eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and avoiding stress might help keep future outbreaks from popping up.
No one knows for sure what triggers genital herpes outbreaks. Other infections, surgery, sex, your period, skin irritations, and stress may cause outbreaks. Sunburns, injuries to your lips, or other infections can cause oral herpes flare-ups. Try to avoid getting sunburned if you have oral herpes.
Genital herpes outbreaks usually happen less often and become shorter and weaker after a few years whether or not you get treated.
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What Should I Discuss With My Healthcare Provider Before Using Acyclovir Topical
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to acyclovir or valacyclovir .
Acyclovir topical is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had a weak immune system .
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. However, herpes virus can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. If you have genital herpes, it is very important to prevent herpes lesions during your pregnancy, so that you do not have a genitallesion when your baby is born.
You should not breastfeed if you have a herpes lesion on or near your breast.
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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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Different Types Of Herpes Hsv
People with herpes can experience viral symptoms in widely different ways: across this population, there is a large range in both the frequency and severity of peoples herpes outbreaks.
Ultimately, all herpes infections are caused by one of two strains of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2.
Herpes simplex virus-1 is the strain that is primarily responsible for oral herpes outbreaks, which are also known as cold sores.
In some cases, HSV-1 infections can also cause genital herpes outbreaks, for example if the virus is spread through oral sex.
Herpes simplex virus-2 , meanwhile, is the herpes simplex strain that causes most outbreaks of genital herpes.
Typically, most herpes outbreaks will resolve on their own in 1-2 weeks.
At this point, the herpes virus will move from your skin cells and into your nervous system, where it will lay dormant until it is reactivated, if for example, your immune system is under stress.
However, certain medications can make the resolution of a herpes outbreak quicker, and more tolerable.
In some cases, they can even prevent outbreaks from occurring with frequency .
Drug Treatment For Genital Herpes
If you are infected with genital herpes, your doctor may prescribe oral antiviral drugs to help ease your symptoms during both a first episode and recurrent episodes. Your doctor may also suggest taking antiviral drugs daily as a suppressive therapy to reduce symptoms and protect partners.
Remember, though, that antiviral drugs do not wipe out the virus completely. It continues to live in your body, so if you stop taking the drugs that suppress it, you may have more frequent or more intense symptom outbreaks, and the risk of your transmitting the virus to others rises.
Three antiviral drugs, all taken by mouth, are used to treat genital herpes:
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Valacyclovir Vs Acyclovir Vs Famciclovir: The Facts
Medically reviewed by Patrick Carroll, MD
There are several drugs used to treat herpes, all of which are antiviral medications. Some of the most popular, effective and widely used herpes medications currently available are valacyclovir , acyclovir and famciclovir . All of these drugs work through a similar mechanism, and all have their place in treating cases of HSV-1 and HSV-2.
In this guide, comparing valacyclovir vs. acyclovir vs. famciclovir to explain which one is the best choice for treating and managing the virus.
Protecting Your Partner And Preventing Herpes Transmission
Research shows that the single greatest fear is the fear of transmission to partners, says Dr. Handsfield.
The main ways to avoid transmitting herpes are:
- Learn to recognize how you feel when an outbreak is on the way, and stop having sex immediately.
- Dont have sex during active outbreaks.
- Always use condoms but dont rely on them during outbreaks. They dont completely cover infectious areas.
- Only after all sores have scabbed over and healed should you have sex again.
- Avoid touching your herpes sores, because you can spread them to other places on your body that way. Whenever you touch a sore, wash your hands immediately.
- Dont kiss people or have sex if you have a cold sore.
- Tell potential partners about having herpes before having sex with them, even though it may be hard.
- Ask your doctor about taking antiviral drugs regularly.
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What Is The Best Medication For Herpes
The effectiveness of a particular medication varies depending on the person, so thereâs no single âbestâ herpes treatment. Doctors prescribe the most suitable drug for each patientâs condition, medical history, and current medications. That said, here are a few of the drugs most commonly used to treat HSV:
|Best medication for herpes|
This doesnât encompass the full scope of potential side effects, just the most common ones. Anyone considering treatment with one of these medications should speak with a healthcare professional for a more comprehensive list.
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Herpes Treatment With Aciclovir
Aciclovir is an antiviral medication which is used to treat genital herpes. It is sometimes referred to as acyclovir. It works by stopping the herpes virus from replicating, reducing the severity of the infection. This helps to prevent the virus from spreading, reducing the seriousness of symptoms. It also helps to speed up the healing process. It usually takes around 2-3 days for aciclovir to start working. To treat an outbreak, you should takeone 400mg tablet three times a day. Alternatively, you can take one 200mg tablet five times a day.
You can also take aciclovir daily to help reduce the chances of getting a flare up. This is known as suppression therapy. The dose for suppression therapy is to take one 400mg tablet two times a day.
Side effects do not affect everyone, but may include stomach pain, dizziness, fatigue, headache, and skin reactions. It may be possible to take aciclovir if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, but you should check this with your doctor. They will determine whether the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks.
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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 AbrevaÂ®, which has been clinically proven to help speed the healing process.
One Option For Ongoing Therapy: Taking Drugs Regularly
Some people with genital herpes choose to take antiviral medication daily to reduce the number of symptom outbreaks they have. In some cases, daily therapy prevents outbreaks completely.
Numerous studies over the years have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of all three of the approved antivirals used to treat genital herpes.
Studies have also shown that daily antiviral therapy reduces the rate of transmission from an HSV-2 infected person to an uninfected partner of the opposite sex.
Daily therapy also lowers the odds of infecting other people if you have multiple sex partners or if you are a man who has sex with men.
The drugs work both for people who have had herpes symptoms and for those whose blood tests show they have an HSV-2 infection but who have never had symptoms.
Some people choose to take antiviral drugs only as needed, for outbreaks that occur after the first one. For this to work, you need to start taking the medicine within one day of sores cropping up or during the time period that comes before some outbreaks.
During the prodrome, you may feel
- Burning in the area where the virus first entered your body
- Itching or tingling in that area
- Pain in your back, buttocks, thighs, or knees
Your doctor will probably give you a prescription you can fill and keep handy for timely use, and tell you to start taking the drugs just as soon as symptoms begin.
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