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Home: Diseases & Conditions: Genital Herpes: Treatment

Genital Herpes: Treatment

Treatment Of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is treated with oral antiviral medications. The three medicines those are available in the USA currently are Acyclovir, Valacyclovir and Famciclovir. These medicines reduce the intensity of the attack. No medicine cures herpes. The choice of medication and dosage depends upon -

  • Intensity of attack
  • Frequency of attacks
  • Cases such as pregnancy
  • Other special needs

Anti herpes therapy may be either episodic or suppressive. In episodic therapy, medicine is given during the episodes of genital herpes. In suppressive therapy, antiviral medication is continued for months.

Episodic Therapy For Genital Herpes
Episodic therapy reduces the intensity of the outbreak and associated discomfort. In episodic therapy, treatment is started at the first sign of outbreak. Those who have had repeated outbreaks can sense the prodrome phase. In this phase, skin gives signs such as burning, tingling indicating that a herpes outbreak is imminent. The treatment continues till the outbreak subsides. The medication choice, strength and duration depend upon the intensity of the episode.

Suppressive Therapy For Genital Herpes
In suppressive therapy, medication is taken for few months. Suppressive therapy as the name suggests reduces the frequency of outbreaks and also reduces the asymptomatic shedding of herpes virus. If you get frequent outbreaks of genital herpes and or are emotionally unable to cope up with herpes your doctor may consider suppressive therapy. By reducing or in many cases completely stopping the outbreaks, the patient gets sufficient time to cope up with herpes.

Who Should Consider Suppressive Therapy?
Those who have the below issues should discuss the option of suppressive therapy with their doctor.

  • The frequency of outbreaks is high
  • The successive outbreaks cause lot of pain and mental agony
  • Specific cases when you want to avoid getting outbreaks. Honeymoon, exams, time-bound career assignments are some such cases when you feel you will be better without any outbreak of genital herpes.

How Long Should You Continue With Suppressive Therapy?
Your doctor would decide the period of therapy and that will depend upon his/her judgment of your symptoms and need.

Genital Herpes During Pregnancy
Pregnancy makes women more vulnerable to herpes outbreaks. Women who are carriers of genital herpes virus may get an outbreak during pregnancy. There may also be danger to the yet to be born child, if the mother delivers the child through her birth canal during active outbreak. Click for more details about herpes during pregnancy.

If You Have Low Immunity
Some people have compromised immune systems. The immune system may get compromised due to AIDS, long-term intake of steroids, and other diseases such as blood cancer. In such cases, medication depends upon the health of the immune system.

Click below for more info on antiviral medications.

Article updated on: May 26, 2008

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