Important Information About All Medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
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.
Cautions With Other Medicines
Some medicines can affect the way aciclovir tablets or liquid work. They can also make you more likely to get side effects.
If youre using aciclovir cream on your skin, this is less likely to react with other medicines.
Its important to tell your doctor if you take any of the following medicines before taking aciclovir:
- cimetidine, a medicine for stomach ulcers
- mycophenolate mofetil, a medicine given after organ transplants
- probenecid, a medicine for gout
- aminophylline or theophylline, medicines for asthma
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How Long Does Genital Herpes Last
As there is no cure for genital herpes, the virus stays in the body even after the signs of the infection have gone away.
Outbreaks themselves can last for up to two to three weeks, and the initial outbreak, often considered the most severe, could last up to four weeks. After the sores develop, they break open and fluid is released. When the sores scab over, the healing process is underway. Blisters do not typically leave any scars.
Subsequent outbreaks tend to become less severe and generally pass within a few days. Genital herpes medication helps to speed up the recovery time, shorten the length of an outbreak, as well as helping to ease symptoms.
Can You Test For Herpes At Home
Yes, there are at-home sexually transmitted infection tests for herpes.
Read more about at-home herpes tests here.
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Is There An Over
Yes, but OTC medications are generally less effective in treating herpes than prescription ones. Abreva is an over-the-counter topical drug that many people use to treat cold sores from HSV-1, but not HSV-2. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and Tylenol are OTC drugs that reduce pain and discomfort, but they do not treat herpes directly.
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Related Resouruces For Herpes
* Prescription savings vary by prescription and by pharmacy, and may reach up to 80% off cash price.
Pharmacy names, logos, brands, and other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
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Can Women Who Have Sex With Women Get Genital Herpes
Yes. It is possible to get genital herpes, or any other STI, if you are a woman who has sex only with women.
Talk to your partner about her sexual history before having sex, and ask your doctor or nurse about getting tested if you have signs or symptoms of genital herpes. Use a dental dam during oral sex and avoid sexual activity during an outbreak.
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What To Think About
The vaccine is less effective in preventing shingles the older a person gets. A person who receives the vaccine at 60 years of age is less likely to get shingles than someone who receives it at 80 years of age. But pain and other symptoms of shingles infection are often reduced in people who have received the vaccine.
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What Happens If I Dont Get Treated
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or the fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another part of your body, such as your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, immediately wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading your infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your developing fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? above for information about this.
Additional Side Effect Information
Nervous system problems include aggressive behavior, unsteady movement, shaky movements, confusion, speech problems, hallucinations , seizures and coma.Kidney failure and nervous system problems have happened in patients who already have kidney disease and in elderly patients whose kidneys do not work well due to age. Always tell your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems before taking valacyclovir tablets.Call your doctor right away if you get a nervous system problem while you are taking valacyclovir tablets.Talk to your healthcare provider if you develop any side effects that concern you. These are not all the side effects of valacyclovir tablets. For more information ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.Keep valacyclovir tablets and all medicines out of the reach of children. General information about valacyclovir tablets Medicines are sometimes prescribed for conditions that are not mentioned in patient information leaflets. Do not use valacyclovir tablets for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give valacyclovir tablets to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription products to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.Please see the full Prescribing Information for complete safety information.
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How To Reduce Your Risk Of Contracting Herpes
Because herpes is so common, millions of new people are infected with the virus every year. Often, new infections are asymptomatic, meaning you might not know that you have been infected for months or years after contact with the person responsible.
If you do contract herpes, particularly HSV-1, its important to remember that its a very common virus. Its also easily treatable, with a wide range of highly effective medications available in the event you have an outbreak.
With this said, there are several ways to lower your risk of contracting herpes, particularly HSV-2 :
Avoid risky sexual behavior, such as having sex with multiple partners without the use of protection.
If you want to have unprotected sex with your partner, ask them about their HSV-2 status and, if required, consider asking them to see a physician about getting a herpes test.
If youre not sure about your sexual partners HSV-2 status, use a condom to cover up the potentially infected area and reduce the risk of HSV-2 transmission.
Avoid sexual activity with people that have visible sores on their mouth or genitals, such as lesions that resemble small bumps or pimples.
What Do Genital Herpes Symptoms Look Like
Other symptoms can include:
- tingling or burning around the genitals
- feeling unwell, with aches, pains and flu-like symptoms
- unusual vaginal discharge in women.
Many people with genital herpes wont get any symptoms, or may get symptoms for the first time months or even years after they were infected.
For most people, the blisters go away within one to two weeks. Although the outbreaks clear-up by themselves, the virus stays in the body. This means that people usually get blisters again which is called having a recurrent outbreak. Outbreaks usually become shorter and less severe over time.
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How To Use Famciclovir
This medication works best when started at the first sign of an outbreak, as directed by your doctor. It may not work as well if you delay treatment.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished. Do not change your dose, skip any doses, or stop this medication early without your doctors approval.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
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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 Abreva®, which has been clinically proven to help speed the healing process.
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What Is Life Like For Someone Who Has Genital Herpes
The virus that causes genital herpes stays inside your body forever. While many people carry this virus, some dont know that they have it because they never have an outbreak.
If you have an outbreak, taking an antiviral medicine can shorten the outbreak and relieve symptoms. Some people have several outbreaks. For most people, the outbreaks become less severe and occur less often with time.
Anyone who has been infected with the virus, however, can spread the virus to others during sex. Even if you never have an outbreak, you can still spread the virus.
Related AAD resources
Centers for Disease Control. Genital Herpes CDC Fact Sheet . Last accessed December 19, 2016.
Fatahzadeh M and Schwartz RA. Human herpes simplex virus infections: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, symptomatology, diagnosis, and management. J Am Acad Dermatol 2007 57:737-63.
Madkan V Sra K, et al. Human herpesviruses. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008:1075-6.
Marques AR, Straus SE, Herpes simplex. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: 1199-1204.
US Preventive Task Force. Serologic screening for genital herpes infection: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2016 316:2525-30.
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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About Genital Herpes Treatment
Taking genital herpes treatment
Start taking Aciclovir as soon as you feel an outbreak starting.
Take 1 tablet 3 times a day for 5 days. Complete the course of treatment.
If you haven’t been diagnosed with herpes previously but think you may have herpes, use our .
Side effects of Aciclovir tablets
A small number of people will experience some side effects when taking Aciclovir, however these are generally mild and should pass quickly. These may include headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea or tiredness.
For full information on side effects and correct use, see the patient information leaflet. If any side effects concern you, contact us via your Patient Record.
Effectiveness of Aciclovir tablets
This treatment is for acute outbreaks of genital herpes only.
If taken within 5 days of the start of an outbreak, Aciclovir should shorten your outbreak by 1-2 days and make the symptoms less severe. It might even prevent the outbreak if taken early enough.
There is no cure for herpes, so it may return. This treatment does not affect how often you get future outbreaks, or how severe they will be. However, you can minimise the inconvenience and discomfort of the outbreaks by considering herpes suppression treatment.
How genital warts treatment works
Aciclovir is an antiviral that works to prevent the herpes virus from multiplying. This reduces the severity of the infection.
Why It Is Used
Herpes zoster vaccine can prevent shingles or reduce pain and other symptoms in people who get shingles. Zostavax II is recommended for adults age 60 and over who have not received the chickenpox vaccine.footnote 1 It is available to adults age 50 and older. They can get one dose, whether or not they’ve had shingles before. Shingrix is approved for use in adults 50 years of age and older. It is a two dose series given 2 to 6 months apart.
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Will Getting Herpes Affect My Fertility
Your fertility is not affected by genital herpes, but you should let your doctor know if you are pregnant and have genital herpes. This is because an outbreak at the time of childbirth can potentially be dangerous for the child and you may need to take suppressive therapy in the run up to giving birth.
What About Topical Herpes Treatments
Topical creams and ointments like Zovirax and Denavir are available and have been studied for oral herpes . Turns out they dont work so well, are really expensive and usually require frequent daily applications.
Now, there is a new topical medication for oral herpes that was just approved which may hold more promise, at a cost Im sure. Sitavig is different and comes in a tablet you place on the gum which delivers a high concentration of acyclovir directly to the lip, the site of the cold sore infection. Sitavig used just once lessened healing time compared to doing nothing. The reason this is exciting is that previous studies show that antiviral creams and ointments are of moderate benefit at best. This is true for topical acyclovir, Denavir, and the over the counter medication Abreva.
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Talk With Your Doctor About Herpes Medications
Its important to first talk with your doctor before using over-the-counter products like docosanol or other home remedies.
If this is the first time you have symptoms of HSV with blisters or sores, your doctor will first diagnose if you have HSV, the type and discuss options to manage your condition. They will tell you about prescription and nonprescription alternatives to treat your HSV infection.
Tell your doctor if you have any serious health conditions including if you have a weakened immune system.
Your doctor will also tell you what you can expect with an HSV infection, how long it may last, and what do to prevent spreading HSV to others while you have an active infection.
Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions about herpes simplex virus.
What Are The Best Natural Remedies For Herpes
When experiencing a herpes outbreak, one of the most important things someone can do is keep the area clean, cool, and dry, since heat and dampness can irritate the sores. Maintaining a healthy immune system can go a long way too, according to Dr. Hayag. âA strong, healthy immune system can keep herpes under control, prevent outbreaks, and reduce the duration of symptoms,â she says. âSupplements like zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea are vital to increasing your immune function and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.â And when it comes to natural remedies, there are several that can provide much-needed relief.
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