Herpes is very common, so are herpes medications. The internet is full of information about different medications that claim to deal with the herpes simplex virus effectively. What effectiveness they are talking about? If you are a herpes patient, by now you know that there is no permanent cure for herpes. But have you ever though of what these antiviral medicines are doing in the market. Knowing only the name of herpes virus medications is not enough but you have to be double sure when you eat anything because it will directly have impact on your body. Here you will find everything that is related to herpes medications, be it the origin of medicine, the effects, side effects and precautions.
This was a milestone that marked the onset of a new era in treating viral infections. At some places you will find the name of this antiviral medicine cited as the safest and the most effective medicine for antiviral therapy.
Acyclovir is one of the oldest drugs used to treat herpes simplex virus. This drug was discovered after the mid of 1970’s and since that day it has been used by million of herpes patients. The effectiveness of acyclovir is the highest for herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2 virus and decreases for all the other variants of the herpes family.
Mechanism of action
Acyclovir is a pro drug as it metabolizes or breaks down into several other active components. It is these active components that are capable of stopping the virus from replicating. With the help of these active components, acyclovir acts as chain terminator and inhibits the reproduction of herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2.
Acyclovir is not an over the counter drug and you have to get a prescription in written by your doctor in order to get it from a medicine store.
According to the stage of outbreak you are at and also the stage of infection you are going through, your doctor will prescribe you the appropriate amount of dose of acyclovir. Generally the amount of acyclovir prescribed at the initial outbreak is higher than the amount you will have to take in for subsequent infections.
In case of highly frequent outbreaks, you will be given very doses of acyclovir for about a year. Sometimes in chronic cases, the herpes patients take the dose of acyclovir for lifetime. This way you can minimize the chances of suffering from an outbreak, but take a note that you cannot nullify them.
The main side effect of acyclovir for herpes patients is on their kidney. Apart from this major health hazards a few small disturbances also occur while you are on acyclovir like.
- Obstructive nephropathy
If you have any kidney related disorder, make sure you let your doctor know it before he writes the prescription for you. Because the action of this drug is dependent on kidney and people with decreased kidney function will be given smaller dosage by the doctor.
Usually you must inform your doctor about all the other drugs you are presently taking, be it natural supplements or over the counter medicines. Also in case you are pregnant, let your doctor know about it as taking acyclovir may not be safe for you.
Abreva, also know as docosanol, is an antiviral medication for treating cold sores that often appear in people infected with oral herpes. Abreva was the first antiviral drug that was approved by FDA as over the counter drug. Abreva got an approval in 2000 by FDA after it proved to shorten the time period required for healing almost by 90%.
Mechanism of action
Abreva inhibits the growth of herpes simplex virus and makes you cold sores heal faster. It has been proved in several studies as well as clinical trials. Actually the reason behind making such an ointment is to make the sores heal fast, and this can be achieved with cream like abreva as it directly comes in contact with the herpes simplex virus living on the skin. You can also get the cold sores treated with the help of oral prescriptions but it will take time.
The cream has to be applied on the cold sores 5 times a day or every 3 to 4 hours. By doing so, you can actually reduce the healing time from a week to just 3 days. You have to cover the area affected by cold sores or by tingling and itching with a thin layer of the cream after washing and drying it properly.
This is an over the counter medicine for herpes simplex and hence you can get it either from a health store, or from any grocery shop also.
The most common side effects of abreva are headaches occurring in any part of your head. You can also experience some allergic reactions like difficulty in breathing, dizziness, confusion, hives, or chest pain. These were the internal side effects and your skin too can suffer from side effects like: acne, rashes, swelling, itching and redness. There won’t be any serious side effect from this if you do not use it regularly.
If you are on some other medication or have any unusual medical condition for which you are taking treatment, you must disclose it to your doctor first. Also the safety of this topical medication for pregnant woman is not yet ensured by any test. Docosanol or abreva is not yet approved for children below 12 years.
Penciclovir is another herpes simplex medication which was approved for medical use in 1996. Although as medicine it does not work as the best treatment due to poor absorption, but shows great results when used as topical ointment by herpes patients. According to some studies, regular application of penciclovir reduces the healing time to just one day.
Mechanism of action
This medicine was approved as it had low toxicity and good selectivity. These two terms refer to the side effects and identification of infected cells respectively. Penciclovir proves to be good for both the parameters. Although the mechanism of action is almost similar to that of acyclovir, there is a small difference. Penciclovir persists in the cell for a longer time and hence will have higher concentration for a longer time once absorbed properly. Penciclovir like all other herpes medications cannot kill the herpes simplex virus but can only stop it from reproducing.
Apply this cream on the skin affected by cold sores as soon as you see the first symptoms of herpes. You can repeatedly apply it every three hours for a few days until you see all the symptoms vanishing. This is not an over the counter medicine and you have to get a prescription to obtain it from the medicine store.
Stinging, numbness or burning sensation can bother you for a long time if you apply this for several days regularly. Rarely this herpes simplex medication can cause unusual itching, allergic reaction or rashes on the skin where you have applied this ointment.
Special precautions are to be taken by breast feeding women or those who are pregnant. If you lie in any of these categories, make sure you speak to your doctor about it first.
The first generic version of famciclovir was approved by the United States Food and Drugs Administration in 2007, however got the green signal for medicinal usage in 1994 itself. Famciclovir does not stop the transmission of the herpes simplex virus, neither can it kill the herpes virus, but it can help you in dealing with some temporary symptoms of herpes outbreaks.
Mechanism of action
Famciclovir is one the three most famous medications for herpes and available in both oral as well as topical treatment. You can either take this medicine in one of the two forms, or the doctor may ask you to use both if your symptoms are very severe.
The correct dosage of the oral prescription will be decided by your doctor depending on the severity of symptoms and you medical conditions. Doctor’s prescription should be followed because higher doses of famciclovir have proved to be harmful for the kidney. This too is a prescription drug and hence you need to talk to your doctor if you want to use it.
Flatulence, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea are some of the commonly occurring side effects of this medicine. Many herpes patients have reported these changes when they on famciclovir. Sometimes even more dangerous side effects like jaundice, liver malfunctioning, allergic reactions and reduction in white blood cells can also be seen in those herpes patients who excessively rely on famciclovir.
The patient with renal dysfunction must take a light dose of this herpes medication. Some changes in the dose are also required for people who have lower immunity or other specific medical condition.
This is an antiviral drug that slows down the rapidly growing herpes simplex virus and helps the patient in fighting with the infection. It is used to treat genital herpes, oral herpes as well as shingles due to its amazing antiviral effect. Like all the other medications for herpes simplex, this too is not capable of killing the herpes virus but only masks the symptoms that bother herpes patients quite often.
Valacyclovir was first approved by FDA in 1995 for use in treating herpes zoster. In the same year the medicine was approved for use by herpes genitalis patients for treating the reoccurring episodes.
Mechanism of action
Valacyclovir is the esterified version of the oldest antiviral- acyclovir. This also is a prodrug like acyclovir which breaks down into several anti-herpes components after entering into the patient’s body. These components are the real tool that fights off the herpes infection.
The sooner you start taking valacyclovir, the better will be the results. If you delay the treatment, you will have to suffer from the outbreak for many days but if you start really soon, your sufferings will reduce.
Stomach pain, headache, dizziness are usually reported from a high percentage of herpes patients using valacyclovir. Agitation, confusion, mod swings are some if the mental ailments arising out of the prolonged use of valacyclovir. In rarest of the rare cases you will see some life threatening side effect of this herpes medication
If you are allergic to acyclovir, then this medicine is surely not your cup of tea. Also make sure you do not fell dizzy after taking this, as if this is the case, you may abstain yourself from driving for a few days.
Your doctor can afford not to tell you all this information; the internet also is very busy managing different dimensions, but your body really cannot afford the side effects that the herpes medications can give birth to.
Although all of us trust herpes medications and love them because of their instant effect, but that doesn’t mean we can afford to ignore the side effects. Every minor issue related to herpes medication in not ignorable because herpes is for lifetime and the same is the case with herpes medications. You have to tae then as often as you suffer from herpes outbreak. So the side effects that look minor for a three days course scale up. Regular intake of these medications will lead to accumulation of minor health issues, and on repeated accumulation they may burst out as a severe health ailment some day.
This is hence you responsibility to keep yourself aware of everything about herpes, be it herpes simplex medications, or the side effects of herpes medications. There is one more promising method for treating the herpes simplex virus called natural treatment. You might have heard about it as everybody is turning towards this nowadays. It is high time you lift your eyes up and look into the surroundings for a better and healthy way to treat herpes.
There are many options out there which are better than antivirals in every aspect. One of them is colloidal silver, which is claimed to help you get rid of herpes permanently. Click here to know more about colloidal silver and herpes.