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Questions about AntiViral meds

I was recently diagnosed with HSV-2. My dr put me on Famvir 250mg... he said to take 1 pill per day and if I have an active outbreak, to take 4 pills twice daily for 2 days.  My questions are as follows:
1.  Is 250mg of Famvir once a day enough to prevent my outbreaks?  How long can I safely take Famvir?  It seems studies Ive read say not to take it past one year... what are you supposed to do after a year?
2.  Is Famvir better than Valtrex?
3.  Are there any natural rememdies out there that seem to be effective?  I cant say that I am thrilled about taking prescription medication for the rest of my life to keep this disease at bay.
4.  How close are we to a cure or at least some sort of shot where it will suppress the virus for years?
5.  How common is asymptomatic shedding?  All doctors I've spoken to have said you can only pass it when you're having an outbreak.  But I've read on the internet where you can pass it even though you are not showing signs.
6.  I recently starting seeing a girl and want to protect her from this in the event things should move in that direction.  Will Famvir help prevent transmission?  Is there anything else I can tell her that would put her mind at ease and not send her running out of the door?
Thanks in advance!
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239123 tn?1267651214
Directly to your questions:

1) Your doctor has recommended an atypical famciclovir (Famvir) regimen for suppressive therapy (normally 250 mg twice daily).  The advice in the event of a breakthrough with a symptomatic outbreak (1,000 mg twice daily) is fine, but only 2 doses, rather than 4, normally is adequate.  But it can't hurt to take it an extra day.

2) All the antiherpes drugs--valacyclovir (Valtrex), famciclovir (Famvir), and acyclovir are pretty much equivalent in controlling symptomatic outbreaks.  However, recent research suggests that famciclovir is slightly (but only slightly) less effective than valacyclovir in suppressing asymptomatic shedding.

3) No 'natural' remedies will make any difference in the frequency of outbreaks.  But you don't necessarily need to take suppressive therapy indefinitely.  If you're not having frequent outbreaks (off of treatment), you might not need it at all.

4) No permanent cure for HSV infection is on the horizon.

5) All HSV-2 infections have periods of asymptomatic shedding and carries the potential for transmission even in the absence of symptoms.  Any provider who says otherwise does not understand the disease and is not up to date.

6) Almost certainly all antiherpes drugs reduce the likelihood of sexual transmission to partners.  However, only valacyclovir has actually been studied to determine its effectiveness for this purpose.  But no treatment is 100% effective; some potential transmission always exists.  But if you a) avoid sex when having symptoms of an outbreak, b) use condoms, and c) take antiviral therapy, the chance of transmission to your partner will be markedly reduced.  But not zero.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
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