The wisest way to choose the best herpes treatment is under the advice and counsel of a doctor. There are many factors to consider, including frequency of herpes outbreaks; whether you are sexually active; and whether the herpes outbreaks are oral, genital, or both. For some patients, the best herpes treatment is a prescription-strength medication, while others prefer over-the-counter (OTC) or natural remedies. Although there is no cure for herpes, there are effective herpes treatments that shorten the duration of outbreaks and help relieve pain and itching.
The most powerful and effective treatments are the prescription oral antiviral medications that include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. This family of medications works by interfering with viral DNA replication, effectively shortening the duration of the outbreak and lessening its severity. Available in pill or caplet form, these drugs can be taken at the first sign of an outbreak for three to five days. For patients who experience very frequent outbreaks, they can be taken daily and are effective at preventing outbreaks as well as the spread of the virus in between outbreaks. This is frequently the best herpes treatment for an individual in a long-term monogamous relationship who experiences frequent herpes outbreaks and desires to protect his or her partner.
The amino acid lysine, which is available as a nutritional supplement, may be the best herpes treatment for someone who desires to control herpes naturally. At recommended dosages, lysine is safe to take every day to prevent herpes infections or can be taken for several days during a herpes infection. Lysine works by interfering with the body’s production of arginine, an amino acid that promotes the growth of the herpes virus. As arginine is also available in foods, it can be helpful to augment the action of lysine by avoiding arginine-containing foods while taking it.
Your relationship status can be a factor in how to choose the best herpes treatment. Although herpes is not as contagious in between outbreaks, it occasionally spreads through direct contact with the affected area in between outbreaks. If you are in a long-term monogamous relationship and suffer from genital herpes, you may want to consider taking medication daily to reduce the chances of infecting your partner.
Patients who are not sexually active or suffer from mild, infrequent outbreaks may prefer to take prescription medication only during actual outbreaks. There are also a variety of OTC topically applied creams available, like lidocaine and benzocaine, for relief of pain and itching. For some patients, natural remedies like lysine or OTC herpes creams may be sufficient. Some home remedies, like holding salt or a split clove of garlic on a herpes lesion, are not as well studied but may be effective for infrequent sufferers.