Are There Treatments for Oral Herpes that are Safe and Effective?
Yes. There are topical antiviral agents including “Aciclovir 5% (age range is not specified by the manufacturer). (and) Penciclovir 1% cream should be used from the age of 12.” (3) However, “The benefits of topical antivirals are small and cold sores usually resolve within 7-10 days even without treatment. Topical antivirals do not prevent future episodes of cold sores alone.” (3)
“Note that these drugs were tested in clinical studies. These studies showed that they were safe and effective. The CBCD urges the public to only trust treatments tested in clinical studies,the results of which were reviewed by independent medical experts and published in peer-reviewed medical journals. (Treatments not clinically tested, or tested but the results of which were not publicly reviewed by medical experts, or the results not published in medical journals, should not be trusted.)
Many doctors may also prescribe a natural product that was shown to work in published clinical studies. (6) Two such products are Gene-Eden-VIR and Novirin. These products are unique since they target the latent herpes virus (see more details below).
What are the Treatments for Genital Herpes that work?
Doctors may prescribe a clinically tested antiviral medication to treat your genital herpes outbreak. This medication can be topical or oral, such as Valtrex. Some examples of these medications include penciclovir, acyclovir, famciclovir, and valaciclovir. However, their effectiveness is limited. For instance, some studies have shown that these medications only reduce the length of an outbreak by one day! (3)
Valtrex, or valacyclovir, is the most commonly prescribed medication for the treatment of genital herpes infections. (4) However, even though it is commonly prescribed, it has many known side effects. (5)
In addition, these medications only cure the visible symptoms of the herpes infection, that is, the genital herpes. They don’t target the invisible infection, that is, the cells with the latent or dormant viruses. These viruses are left untouched. Since they only remove the active viruses, they produce a temporary remission, not a cure. See more on the difference between remission and cure, here.
Many doctors may also prescribe a natural product that was shown to work in clinical studies that were reviewed by experts and published in medical journals. (6) Two such products are Gene-Eden-VIR and Novirin. These products are different than other natural remedies and the approved drugs since they target the latent herpes virus.
The CBCD tested the safety and effectiveness of the Gene-Eden-VIR/Novirin formula in a post-marketing clinical study. According to the study: “… the clinical study showed that Gene-Eden-VIR is a safe and effective treatment against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV), and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Therefore, health care practitioners should recommend Gene-Eden-VIR as a safe and effective antiviral treatment against these viruses.” The study was published in the medical journal Pharmacology and Pharmacy, in a special edition called Advances in Antiviral Drugs.
Gene-Eden-VIR and Novirin have the same five natural ingredients: 100 mg of quercetin, 150 mg of green tea extract, 50 mg of a cinnamon extract, 25 mg of a licorice extract, and 100 mcg of selenium. The difference between the two products is that Novirin has higher quality, more expensive ingredients.
Click Novirin or Gene-Eden-VIR to read more information about these products.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the demand for natural remedies, and there is growing evidence that some of these products are safe and effective. Moreover, natural remedies are a viable option for those who wish to avoid the side effects associated with some medications, and are willing to wait the extra time it takes for these remedies to work.
Background on Oral and Genital Herpes
What is Oral Herpes?
Oral herpes is usually caused by HSV-1. It is the cause of cold sores and fever blisters. “After primary infection, HSV-1 becomes latent, usually in the dorsal root ganglia of the trigeminal nerve. Rarely, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) may cause primary infection of the oral cavity, typically in association with orogenital sex, but recurrent oral HSV-2 disease is rare.” (3)
Up to 85% of the population is infected with HSV-1 by the time they reach adulthood. The exact number of infected individuals varies by country.
“Recurrences occur typically between two and six times a year. A study from Amsterdam found that HSV-1 seroprevalence varied according to ethnicity and was more prevalent in older age groups and those of low economic status.” (3)
How Does One Get Oral Herpes?
“Transmission is due to viral shedding into saliva and can occur by direct contact with saliva (eg, kissing).
Viral shedding into saliva may occur during asymptomatic infection but it is thought that the risk of infection is much smaller than during symptomatic infection. Viral shedding can occur up to 60 hours after the onset of symptoms.
Factors that may trigger a recurrence of oral herpes simplex include immunosuppression (e.g., corticosteroids), upper respiratory tract infections, fatigue, emotional stress, physical trauma, exposure to sun (ultraviolet light), trauma and menstruation.
Obesity may increase susceptibility to HSV-1 infection.” (3)
What is Genital Herpes?
“Genital herpes is a common and highly contagious infection usually spread through sex. Usually this infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) although herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), the virus usually responsible for cold sores, may cause genital herpes.” (WebMD) (1)
The CDC notes that “Genital herpes is a common STD, and most people with genital herpes infection do not know they have it.
- You can get genital herpes even if your partner shows no signs of the infection.
- If you have any symptoms (like a sore on your genitals, especially one that periodically recurs) laboratory tests can help determine if you have genital herpes.
- There is no cure for herpes, but treatment is available to reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of transmission to a partner.” (2)
How Does One Get Genital Herpes?
“People get herpes by having sex with someone who has the disease. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex. HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be found in and released from the sores that the viruses cause. The viruses can also be released from skin that does not appear to have a sore. Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected.
HSV-1 can cause sores in the genital area and infections of the mouth and lips, so-called “fever blisters.” HSV-1 infection of the genitals is caused by mouth to genital or genital to genital contact with a person who has HSV-1 infection.” (2)
What are the Symptoms of a Genital Herpes Infection?
Symptoms “typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take two to four weeks to heal. Experiencing these symptoms is sometimes referred to as having an “outbreak.” The first time someone has an outbreak they may also experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches and swollen glands.
Repeat outbreaks of genital herpes are common, in particular during the first year of infection. Symptoms of repeat outbreaks are typically shorter in duration and less severe than the first outbreak of genital herpes. Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years.” (2)
How Can One Avoid Getting Genital Herpes?
“The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including genital herpes, is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.” (2)
“Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of genital herpes, because herpes symptoms can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom. However, outbreaks can occur in areas that are not covered by a condom.” (2)
“Persons with herpes should abstain from sexual activity with partners when sores or other symptoms of herpes are present. It is important to know that even if a person does not have any symptoms, he or she can still infect sex partners. Sex partners of infected persons should be advised that they may become infected and they should use condoms to reduce the risk. Sex partners can seek testing to determine if they are infected with HSV.” (2)
- Australian Medicines Handbook