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Genital Herpes - Medications

Antiviral medicines are the recommended treatment for genital herpes. They can relieve the pain and discomfort of blisters and sores and speed healing.

These medicines also decrease the number of days you can spread the virus (are contagious).

Recommended Related to Genital Herpes

Alternative Treatments for Genital Herpes

A number of alternative (also called complementary) therapies can help you deal with outbreaks of genital herpes.

Read the Alternative Treatments for Genital Herpes article > >

Medicine choices

Taking antiviral medicines

Antiviral medicines work best when they are taken as soon as symptoms are noticed. For that reason, people with herpes should keep a supply of the medicine on hand.

If you have 6 or more outbreaks a year or have severe outbreaks, you may benefit from taking antiviral medicine every day. It may reduce the number of outbreaks by about 1 or 2 episodes a year.

If you take antiviral medicine every day, you may want to talk to your doctor about not taking the medicine for a short period each year. This can show whether your outbreaks are starting to occur less frequently. Then you can decide whether to keep taking the medicine.

People with impaired immune systems may be more likely to:

  • Need daily antiviral medicine to prevent recurrent outbreaks.
  • Develop a resistance to some antiviral medicines. For these people, other medicines are available, but they must be given through a vein (intravenously, or IV) and can have dangerous side effects.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 14, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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