Category Archives: Herpes Treatment Tips
The process of introducing a new drug into the market that is ideal for human consumption can be a long one. Before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America approves a particular drug or treatment it undergoes a laborious process of clinical testing. These clinical trials are categorized into 3 phases, with each one being conducted to meet a specific requirement.
- Phase 1: Researchers find out if the drug is safe for consumption by the public. If the drug is deemed fit for consumption, the trial progresses onto the second phase.
- Phase 2: This is the most critical process in the trial period of any drug. In this phase, researchers aim to determine whether the drug works as endorsed. In case it does, the clinical trial proceeds into the third and final phase. If the drug doesn’t work as expected, the trial terminates.
- Phase 3: In the final stage of experimentation, researchers try including more people from different places as part of the trial. The research is expanded to accommodate more people so that the impact of a particular drug is evaluated on a wider section of the audience.
Scientists need voluntary participation of people in order to successfully conduct a clinical trial. These trials often involve thousands of people who are willing to try the experimental drug. Besides the FDA, an independent review board is set up to keep a tab on every aspect of the trial. There are certain guidelines that researchers are supposed to comply with, in order to ensure that is scientifically as well as ethically sound.
Furthermore, there are certain predefined rights that volunteers enjoy. For instance, they can drop out of the trial at any point of time, without giving any sort of explanation. There is no doubt about the fact that participating in a clinical trial involves a great deal of risk. However, there are some benefits of being a part of the trial as well. You might get an opportunity to try a new “wonder drug” way before it is made available to the general public.
In case you are interested in participating in any such clinical trial, you may ask for doctor for assistance. Physicians and medical experts generally have some idea on any ongoing trials or if any researcher is seeking volunteers. You can also check out the database maintained by the National Institute of Health to search for an opportunity. The official website provides a great deal of information pertaining to a clinical trial as well as the ones that are already in progress.
Medical experts and researchers from across the globe are working hard to find a cure for Genital Herpes. While the final objective is to formulate a vaccine, the results obtained as part of clinical studies haven’t been favorable so far.
Scientists working in the field of herpes research have been exploring the possibilities of using Microbicides as a potential agent in the treatment of genital herpes. Microbicides are chemical substances that act as a shield against infections by killing the micro-organisms before they can enter the body. So far, scientists have been able to discover only two products – tenofovir gel and siRNA nanoparticles that need to be applied on the vagina.
Studies have shown that these chemical agents may be successful in killing various kinds of infections in addition to the herpes simplex virus. Furthermore, it has also been said that using these chemicals shall certainly curb the transmission of the herpes simplex virus from one individual to another. Studies have also been working on new drugs that would prevent the virus from replicating.
Clinical trials of the newly found drugs will undergo clinical trials for several years before they are actually made available to the public. Before a drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and made available to the public, it undergoes rigorous clinical tests on the possible benefits and disadvantages. The process is broadly classified into three phases.
In the first phase, it is determined whether the drug is safe for human consumption. In phase 2 it is found out whether the drug works as it should. In the third and final phase, researchers try including more people from different places to see the effectiveness of the drug. To conduct a clinical trial, researchers require voluntary participation of thousands of people. Clinical trials involve patients who are willing to test the affects of a particular drug.
The FDA works in association with a separately appointed review board, which carefully monitors every aspect of the testing process. There is a predefined set of rules and guidelines that must be complied with in order to ensure that the trial is not only ethically but also scientifically correct. The volunteers participating in trials have certain rights and can opt to quit the trial at any point of time.
While it is certainly very risky to be a part of the trial process, there are several benefits associated with it too. For instance, you might get an opportunity to try a new “wonder drug” long before it is made available to the general audience. If you are interested in being a part of the experiment, ask your doctor for he might know of any trial that is seeking volunteers.
Genital herpes has become a common STD across the globe. In fact, in the United States alone, 1 out of every 5 persons is infected with the herpes simplex virus. Although there are quite a few antiviral drugs available in the market, researchers have started focusing on organic solutions to deal with the issue. These organic solutions are popularly known as nutritional supplements or herbs.
The increasing number of herpes cases has made researchers focus extensively on alternative treatments of the ailment. In fact, scientists have also performed various studies on herbal extracts and nutritional supplements, based on claims that they are effective in treatment of herpes. While some studies have shown ground – breaking results, others are disappointing. However, the successful ones have been welcomed with open arms by the public.
Many people having genital herpes have claimed that an extract of the Echinacea plant can enhance the immune system’s ability to fight against herpes simplex virus. A few also believe that it diminishes the frequency as well as the severity of herpes outbreaks. Medical researchers in the United Kingdom compared the comprehensive effects of both Echinacea and Placebo.
Both these herbs were given to people with herpes in turns for six months. Eventually, it was concluded that there is no significant difference in the effectiveness of both these herbs. There was another study involving an ointment containing Propolis, showed positive results in the treatment of herpes. Propolis is a waxy substance that is produced by Honey Bees. It was found out that the substance showed better results compared to ointments containing antiviral drugs such as Acyclovir and Placebo.
The Propolis – based ointment had to be applied to herpes sores four times a day. The treatment had to be continued for 10 days. 80 percent of the people using the Propolis – based ointment said their sores healed, compared with 50 percent of the people using acyclovir and 40 percent using Placebo.
Other herbs that according to researchers can be effective in the treatment of herpes symptoms are “Prunella Vulgaris” and a mushroom named “Rozites Caperata”. Studies conducted on these herbs have revealed the presence of certain chemicals that can not only be effective against Genital herpes (HSV 1) but also Oral herpes (HSV 2). Therefore, these can be given to people who are infected with both variants of the herpes simplex virus.
It is worth stating that the Food and Drug Administration department of the United States of America haven’t given these herbs a formal nod. People having herpes can find them in stores where they are considered as nutritional supplement and not drugs. This also means that they may or may not comply to the quality standards as proposed by the FDA.
Medical Sciences hasn’t been successful in finding a cure for genital herpes. Nevertheless, a few drugs have been found out to be effective in the treatment of the ailment. These medicines are proven to reduce the duration as well as frequency of herpes outbreaks. The choice of a particular drug depends on various factors. People with herpes are advised to discuss this with their health care provider for better results.
Here are some of the questions that you must be prepared to answer while visiting a physician.
- Have you had an outbreak before?
The first episode of herpes outbreak is severe and often accompanied with symptoms like fatigue and fever. Outbreaks experienced after the initial phase are less severe, aren’t very painful and don’t last as long.
Herpes is not always characterized by outbreaks. Some people have herpes despite not showing any signs of the infection in the form of sores.
- How frequent are the outbreaks?
While some people witness outbreaks once in a year or so, there are a few who experience more than 6 – 8 outbreaks in a year. Medical experts suggest a suppressive medication therapy in case an individual has frequent outbreaks. This is done to reduce the number of outbreaks. Furthermore, suppressive therapy also diminishes the severity of an outbreak in due course of time.
- How efficient is your immune system?
People who are infected with HIV or are suffering with leukemia are likely to have severe herpes infections. As a matter of fact, an inefficient immune system causes outbreaks to be severe and more painful. Elderly people do not have very strong immunity, which makes them vulnerable to worse outbreaks.
- Are you pregnant?
Women with genital herpes are thoroughly examined for any symptoms prior to giving birth. In case the symptoms are showing up at the time of delivery, the baby is delivered by C – section so as to prevent transmission of the Herpes Simplex Virus.
As per general guidelines issued by medical experts, here are some drugs along with their side – effects and individuals who should avoid them.
Acyclovir: It can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, dizziness and diarrhea. This is not recommended to people having kidney disorders and pregnant women.
Famciclovir: It can lead to headache, nausea, fatigue and diarrhea. Treatment involving this drug isn’t advised to people suffering from kidney problems or pregnant / nursing women.
Valacyclovir: It can cause similar symptoms as Acyclovir and Famciclovir. Apart from the abovementioned categories of individuals, elderly people are advised not to use it.
Treatment of genital herpes and using antiviral drugs can help reduce outbreaks and remain symptom-free. Besides, they can also reduce the severity of symptoms in case they do appear. These herpes medication drugs cannot be considered as a cure to herpes. However, they can certainly make living with the condition a little easier.
The three most common drugs used in the treatment of genital herpes are valacyclovir, Famvir and acyclovir.
Medication courses recommended during genital herpes
In case you are diagnosed with herpes and observe symptoms such as sores, doctors recommend a brief course, usually ranging between 7 to 10 days. This antiviral therapy is aimed at relieving the symptoms of herpes or preventing them from worsening. The duration of the course may increase, if your condition doesn’t improve in the stipulated time.
Once you are done with the initial phase of treatment, it is advised you work with your physician and chalk out a perfect antiviral therapy. You may follow any one of the below stated options:
- Intermittent treatment: In this form of treatment, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs for you to keep at hand, just in case you observe any symptoms flaring up. The treatment can last for up to 5 days depending on the severity of the outbreak. Although sores may eventually heal and disappear, antiviral drugs speeds up healing process besides making the symptoms less severe.
- Suppressive treatment: If you face outbreaks often, your doctor my consider opting for a suppressive therapy rather than an intermittent treatment. In this, you will have to take drugs every day. For those who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year, this can reduce the number of outbreaks by over 60 percent.
There is no threshold limit based on which doctors decide to go for a suppressive therapy. Often, factors such as the frequency of outbreaks and their severity decide the kind of treatment.
Consumption of antiviral drugs on a daily basis also reduces the chances of transmission of the virus. This is why, people having genital herpes are advised to take antiviral drugs or increase their dosage prior to engaging in sexual activities. These drugs diminish viral shedding, when the herpes simplex virus makes duplicate copies on the surface of the skin.
Although this cannot be considered as a replacement to condom, it has certain proven to be effective. A recent study has revealed that people, who took daily doses of antiviral drugs, were half as likely to transmit the virus compared to those who didn’t.
Medical experts believe that side effects caused by antiviral drugs are mild and almost negligible. In fact, these medicines are known to be safe in the long run. Acyclovir is the oldest drug used in the treatment of genital herpes and is known to be absolutely harmless.
However, people who are taking suppressive therapy are advised to visit their doctor at least once in a year to determine if they can continue.