|There is no
treatment to cure herpes. However, there are
medications that can help keep the virus in check.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved
three prescription medicines for herpes treatment.
(Zovirax®) has been used for over 10 years and
is now available in generic form.
uses acyclovir as its active ingredient, is
better absorbed by the body and can be taken less
is similar to acyclovir and is also better
absorbed and can be taken less often
have not found any major difference in
effectiveness of these three drugs. Their main
difference is in how often the drug must be taken.
Acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir are
available in capsules or tablets. Acyclovir and
famciclovir are available in cream for use in
oral herpes cases. Topical creams are not
recommended for genital herpes.
disrupt the virus' ability to reproduce. All are
safe and have almost no side effects.
Suppressive Therapy: Your Choice
means taking the medication only during an
outbreak to speed healing. Your doctor will
prescribe treatment to take at the first sign of
prodrome and continue treatment for five days.
For first episodes, the healing time can be
dramatically reduced. For recurrences, the
outbreak can be shortened by about two days. If
you choose episodic therapy, fill your
prescription and have it ready before an outbreak
so you can begin taking the medication
therapy means taking an antiviral medication
daily as a preventative--to keep HSV in check,
reduce flare ups and lessen symptoms. Suppressive
therapy can lower the number of outbreaks and,
for some, prevent them altogether. This therapy
also reduces asymptomatic shedding, and research
studies are determining whether on-going
antiviral medication can help prevent
People who have
just been diagnosed with herpes regain a feeling
of control over their lives with antiviral
medication. It also brings great relief to people
who have frequent or bothersome outbreaks.
However, many people with herpes don't feel the
need to take medication because their outbreaks
are mild. Remember that each person is different.
Talk with your doctor or nurse about what is best