Which Herpes Treatment is the Most Effective?

Learn about the most effective treatments for genital herpes including acyclovir (Zovirax) and valacyclovir (Valtrex). Find out how these medications can reduce viral transmission by up to 90%.

Which Herpes Treatment is the Most Effective?

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection, and its symptoms can vary from person to person and outbreak to outbreak. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of herpes, as well as the available treatments, in order to manage the condition effectively. The most effective treatments for genital herpes are antiviral medications such as acyclovir (Zovirax) and valacyclovir (Valtrex). Studies have shown that these medications can reduce viral transmission by up to 90%.

They can be taken during an outbreak to reduce its severity, or taken daily to prevent outbreaks in people with frequent recurrences. In severe cases, treatment may include intravenous (IV) medication such as acyclovir. It is also important to remember that herpes is transmissible even when it is latent, so it is recommended to avoid sexual and oral contact with someone who is experiencing a herpes outbreak. All newborns with neonatal herpes should be evaluated immediately and treated with systemic acyclovir.

When you are first diagnosed with herpes and have symptoms of an active infection, you are usually prescribed a brief antiviral treatment for 7 to 10 days. Doctors recommend famciclovir for people with a strong immune system, although it should not be the first course of treatment for people experiencing their first episode of genital herpes. Primary genital herpes is usually more serious in women, who are more likely to develop complications, especially aseptic meningitis. Antiviral medications such as Valtrex and Zovirax not only heal herpes sores faster than other options, but they also work to prevent recurrences.

Acyclovir was the first antiviral agent used in the treatment of genital herpes and is still the most widely studied of the antiviral agents currently available. Due to the decreased risk of relapses and spread, suppressive treatment for HSV-1 genital herpes should be reserved for people with frequent recurrences through shared clinical decisions between patient and provider. The goals of using antiviral medications to treat genital herpes infection are to treat or prevent symptomatic recurrences of genital herpes and to improve quality of life and suppress the virus to prevent transmission to sexual partners. For people with HSV-1 symptomatic genital herpes or asymptomatic HSV-2 genital herpes, suppressive therapy may be considered for those who suffer substantial psychosocial distress due to a diagnosis of genital herpes.

In people with recurrent herpes, antivirals may be given daily to prevent outbreaks (called prophylactic therapy).As with any medical condition that has a well-known mechanism of action and a specific treatment, therapeutic intervention is only as effective as the patient allows. To date, famciclovir is the only antiviral agent that has proven effective as a single-day therapy for genital herpes. Learn the symptoms and treatment of ocular herpes, or ocular herpes, caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).The clinical diagnosis of genital herpes can be difficult because the self-limited, recurrent, painful, vesicular or ulcerative lesions that are classically associated with HSV are absent in many infected people at the time of clinical evaluation.