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Side Effects from Anti-Viral Drugs
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Side Effects from Anti-Viral Drugs

The side effects are too severe to continue on Valtrex.  Dr. said to try acyclovir, but research shows it has the same ingredients only in lower milligram strength.  Has anyone, who couldn't tolerate Valtrex, have success with acyclovir?
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let's start at the beginning - how were you diagnosed as having herpes? do you have hsv1 or hsv2?

I personally don't tolerate valtrex. I do however tolerate acyclovir quite well.  what side effects are you experiencing? what dose of valtrex are you taking?

grace
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101028_tn?1348750963
let's start at the beginning - how were you diagnosed as having herpes? do you have hsv1 or hsv2?

I personally don't tolerate valtrex. I do however tolerate acyclovir quite well.  what side effects are you experiencing? what dose of valtrex are you taking?

grace
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Blood test in Nov. 2011 showed genital herpes.  The symptoms I get from Valtrex is headache, body aches, joint pain and very bad pain in my spine.  I stopped it.  Side effect symptoms went away. The dose was 400 mg. 2 x's a day, but I only managed 1-1/2 days on it.   I just filled the acyclovir 400 mg, but cut dose in in half as a test.  I'm nervously waiting. How are you doing on acyclovir and do you take it episodically or every day?
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I'm not sure if you received my reply to the note you sent me 3 hrs. ago.  I hope so, but I'm new on this site and find it a bit confusing knowing where and when to look for replies, so even though I did reply to your note, I am sending this as a follow up in case I did it wrong and you did not get it.  Would you please advise?  Thank you.
Lynn
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I will gladly take a look at your blood test results if you want to get them and post them here. all you have to do is post the numeric results - e.g. hsv1 igg 5.3 and hsv2 igg 2.0 or whatever they are. that way we can be sure you were properly tested and see if you need further confirmatory testing or not to confirm your status.

those are pretty common side effects you had from the valtrex. typically they get better in time.  If you were taking it as suppressive therapy, you only needed 500mg once a day ( pretty sure you meant to post 500mg, not 400mg since valtrex doesn't come in a 400mg dose ).  

If you want to try acyclovir suppressively, give it some time. expect to have headaches, abdominal pain and nausea for the first week or two.  You can try just starting out with 400mg once a day ( take it at dinner time with a big meal so that hopefully you sleep through most of the side effects ).  

I've been taking acyclovir suppressively more than I haven't for over 20 years now. I do fine on it :)  I used to get a lot of side effects when I initially started it and was on the higher ob doses.
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Hi Grace,

I'm not sure if I can provide what you need.  I have lab results from LabCorp which was the blood work and the culture as well.  HSV culture says positive for Herpes simples virus type-2.  The blood work results I can't interpret. This is what I see:  HSV 1 igG Type Spec 3.39 - HSV 2 igG, type spec 3.68.  There's more information on the report as well.

Anyway, you are right, it was a typo on the Valtrex.  It was 500 mg.  Off that now and on 400 mg of acyclovir.  Only am taking 1/2 pill twice a day because this one too gives me side effects, but not as pronounced as Valtrex.  I will not be taking suppressive drugs, just episodically if I can stand it.

This eposide started 8/20 in p.m.  I figure by now it is on its way to retreating back to its hiding place.  I'm done with these drugs for now.  I'm just upset that not only was I lied to and now I have this horrible virus at my age (70) (no sex was involved), but I can't even make myself feel better.  Ten days and counting.  Can you give me a ray of hope?

Thanks,
Lynn
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101028_tn?1348750963
oh great - you had a + lesion culture for hsv2. that totally confirms blood testing that was +. thanks for providing that info for me.

like I said, you will get side effects but they will go away in time. I thought you were trying to take it suppressively, not just treat an ob.  

you don't have to take antivirals for recurrences, they will heal on their own even without treatment.

keep asking questions!
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Thank you Grace, you've been very helpful.  I'm so happy to hear that the recurrences will heal on their own without treatment, because that's where I am at this point.  

The acyclovir made me confused (not clear thinking), fatigued, stomach upset, and left side pelvic cramping.  These side effects are enough for me to just tolerate the "burning irritation" of the herpes virus.  I was afraid not to take an anti-viral drug for fear of doing myself an injustice.  But if I'm not harming myself by not medicating (I feel so much better today without the drugs), then I'm just one of those individules who are sensitive  to meds.  I can't be the only one in the world?

I'm not trying the last remaining anti-viral drug on the market.  Two were enough.  I lead a healthy lifestyle, eat whole foods and watch my sugar intake.  I'm hoping this is enough.  Oh....and I listen to relaxation cd's whenever I feel I need it - which has been frequently since all this started!!

Again, thanks for your help. You've been very nice and "supported" me when I needed it.

Lynn
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I like to use diluted tea tree oil myself on recurrences. you can find it relatively cheap some places.  it does smell very herbally but it seems to work on reducing pain and itching.

also soaking in the tubby with epsom salts thrown is in comforting.

dermoplast spray, the blue can for the genital area, not the red can, is a spray on anesthetic you can spray on several times a day as needed for pain and itching.

domeboro's solution can be found at most drug stores.  You might have to ask where it is. it's a tablet you buy and make a solution out of. use it to soak gauze in and apply to the lesions as a compress.  

many things to try for comfort while waiting for lesions to heal.

if you find you are having frequent recurrences, make sure you get tested for bv too vaginally. not unusual for post menopausal women to have vaginal dryness lead to bv which triggers herpes to be more active.
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Wow Grace, another helpful post!!  I will try these things the next time this digusting virus rears its ugly head. Sorry that you have it too.

You use some abbreviations I'm not familiar with.  What is ob and bv?  You've used these in your recent replies.

Also, do you think it was odd that when I went to my gynecologist 's office in Nov. to find out what I had, that I was only given Zovirax ointment?  It never helped (only burned more on application) and that first episode lasted 3 weeks!  (My regular doctor was unavailable and I saw a different one in the practice.)  Just curious.

Well, that's it for now.  As always you've been very helpful.  If you could just answer the above questions, I'll try not to bother you again for a long time.
Lynn
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101028_tn?1348750963
ob is outbreak

bv is bacterial vagiosis

zovirax ointment is ineffective for genital herpes recurrences  ( not that it does a lot for a primary herpes infection either )  :(  when you see your regular provider next time, encourage them to let that provider in their practice know it is and they should do a lit search/read the prescribing info to know that and stop wasting time and money for their patients .

keep asking questions!!!
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I need your help again.  Another outbreak.  Took no meds this time -- wanted to see what were actual drug side effects and what were viirus related.  After 7 days on no meds,  I was beginning to feel better and figured another couple of days and I'll be ok.  Wrong!  Within a day or two of this thought, it came back again.  This time with a genital sore, not just an irritation as before, and flu-like symptoms (body aches, chills).  Tylenols were helpful, not so much now.  So out of desperation,  I took one 400 mg. of acyclovir at bedtime hoping the side effects wouldn't be noticed if I was sleeping.  I woke within 3 hrs. with a terrible headache and never was able to go back to sleep.  This is no way to live!  I feel scared and awful.  Should I just persevere with the headaches on the acyclovir?  You mentioned in a previous post - expect to have side effects for awhile until your body gets used to the drug.  Have you tried L-Lysine supplements for herpes?  If so, do you feel it is worth buying?
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How do I get my post to the top for you?  I used the "continuing threads" from Aug with you, but this new post lacks a date (Oct. 27, 2012) and appears at the bottom of all the rest.  I don't know if you will see it.  Will you?  
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101028_tn?1348750963
lysine doesn't speed healing of herpes ob's nor does it effectively prevent it. don't waste your money on it.  

the headaches are a side  effect of acyclovir and you most likely will continue to get them each time you take it if only using the medications with recurrences.

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I just read your post from today (10/31), Sorry I didn't use the continuing thread.  I am using it now.

I'm just wondering about your reply to me however.  If herpes doesn't give one pelvic cramps, then it is my nerves, with the pelvic muscles going into spasms.  I am a very high strung/anxious person and this condition has me very stressed.  I determined it is not the acyclovir doing it, as I get these cramps whether I'm on the medication or not.  That's why the trial and error period of not taking acyclovir right away with this current episode.

Next you said on 8/2812 that if I choose to use acyclovir suppressively, I could start out with 400 mg. 1 time per day and to take it at dinner with a meal so I sleep thru most of the side effects.  Now you state that 400 mg. 2 times per day is the proper dose, anything less would be ineffective.  What changed?

I don't mean to be rude, but can the name "gracefromHHP" be used by any of your volunteers?  The last 2 responses don't seem to be from the person who  helped me in August..

Would you mind clarifying these things.  Thank you very much.
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101028_tn?1348750963
this is why I ask you to post all your questions in one post - so I can glance through and see what your exact situation is and what I've said in the past.  I should've been more detailed in my reply in august and said you start it out initially with a 400mg tablet once a day and after a week or so increase it to the twice a day dose. sorry I wasn't more clear in those instructions.

I am the only one who uses this name. no one else can access my account.
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