Herpes Medications That Clear up Your Outbreak

160 - Herpes Medications - blog alexandra Harbushka

Different Types of Antivirals for Your Herpes Outbreak

You get the call from your doctor saying you have herpes and they’ll fill your prescription. 

Eek… right?

Here’s the deal. Take the antiviral. Chances are you’re in pain and feel horrible and all you want is for your outbreak to go away. Getting that antiviral in your system ASAP is the best thing you can do. In fact, the soon you get it  in your system on the onset of an outbreak, the sooner your outbreak will clear up. I’ve heard of people being too embarrassed to go to the pharmacist to pick up the antiviral, don’t be. Seriously they medication will be a god send and get you feeling better. 

A quick note, however, you don’t  need the antiviral to recover. Unlike having say strep throat or some other type of bacterial infection where you need an antibiotic to get better you don’t need the antiviral your outbreak will clear up on it’s own but it will take a lot longer.  Also, a quick disclosure, herpes is a viral infection so you will never get rid of it. Taking the antiviral does not “cure” you or get rid of herpes. It just clears up the current infection you have right now. If you want more information on herpes you can go here where I break it way down. 

Let’s cover herpes medications and break them down into 2 categories. A pill and a topical cream.

The Antiviral Pills:

  1. Acyclovir (brand name Zovirax): The oldest antiviral medication for herpes is acyclovir. It has been available since 1985 in pill form. Acyclovir has been shown to be safe in people who have used it continuously (every day) for as long as 10 years.

  2. Valacyclovir (brand name Valterx): A newer drug, valacyclovir, actually uses acyclovir as its active ingredient. This medication delivers acyclovir more efficiently so that the body absorbs much of the drug, which has the advantage of taking the medication fewer times during the day.

  3. Famciclovir (brand name Famvir): Famciclovir uses penciclovir as its active ingredient to stop HSV from replicating. Like valacyclovir, it is well absorbed, persists for a longer time in the body, and can be taken less frequently than acyclovir.

The Topical Antiviral:

  1. Acyclovir ointment (brand name Zovirax®) 

  2. Penciclovir cream (brand name Denavir®) 

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.

As you’ve seen me mention “branded” and “generic” basically what that means is the brand name was typically what the drug companies came out with when the drug came on the market. And the generic has the same ingredients and works in the same way but does not carry the brand name. Usually branded drugs are more expensive and generic are less expensive. It doesn’t really matter which one you take and they will do the trick.  Of course, if you’re having side effects or issues with one drug or the other then you’ll want to talk to your doctor and have him or her prescribe another option. 

Also, other questions I get are about why one drug over the other drug etc. A lot of time it has to do with your insurance and which one they will cover as well as which one your doctor prefers. Again, if you have issues with one or your outbreaks are not clearing up then talk to your doctor and see what can be done. The good news here is that you have options!

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