Herpes (don't worry, you can't catch it from reading this blog)

Antiviral medications are regularly prescribed to treat the severity of and duration of symptoms caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) or the herpes zoster virus (chickenpox virus).

The herpes zoster virus is responsible for both chickenpox and shingles. A good description of the herpes zoster virus can be found at this link.

HSV is commonly categorized into two different types (HSV-1 or HSV-2).   Today, it is known that both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause either genital or oral herpes; however, it is much more common to see HSV-1 associated with oral herpes and HSV-2 associated with genital herpes.

When the HSV manifests as cold sores around the mouth, face or eye it is called herpes labialis.    It is possible for the HSV to manifest in other areas of the body; however, it is not as common.  An outbreak of HSV in the genital, anal or buttock region is called herpes genitalis.  
National Institute of Health description of the Herpes Simplex Virus

It is important to realize that antiviral medications are only used to decrease the severity and duration of a viral outbreak.  These medications are not a cure for herpes.  These viruses live in our body and are opportunistic.  The moment our immune system is compromised somehow, either through stress, sickness or some other reason, the virus will proliferate and manifest as an outbreak.  These medications will help sores heal faster, keeps new sores from forming and may help reduce how long the pain or itching will last.  Antiviral medications may also help prevent a herpes outbreak from spreading to another part of the body in a patient with a weak immune system.

Please understand that this category of medications does not protect against the spread of genital herpes.  Please refrain from sexual contact during an outbreak.  Be aware, genital herpes can be passed to your partner during sexual activity even when you are not experiencing any symptoms.  Always use an effective barrier method, such as a condom or dental dam, during all sexual activity.  Please discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist form more information.

Three different antiviral medications are available to treat the symptoms related to an outbreak of either the Herpes Simplex Virus or Herpes Zoster Virus.  Medication Specific Counseling SessionsTM for these three medications are available at www.AudibleRx.com.

·         Acyclovir (ZoviraxTM)

·         Famciclovir (FamvirTM)

·         Valacyclovir (ValtrexTM)

If you would like to learn more about any of these three medications, please register to become a member with AudibleRxTM  and then have access to all of the Medication Specific Counseling SessionsTM.


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