You mentioned you have taken Valtrex so if you don't mind me asking, how much does it reduce the risk of transmission during sex? I want to talk to my doctor about it soon but I don't know if it's also just for people with severe or often outbreaks
Hi! I’m not qualified to tell you whether or not you’re a good candidate for a daily anti-viral therapy; only your doctor can determine that.
How much does it reduce transmission? This study, assuming I’m reading it correctly, seems to say that it lowered transmission from 3.6% to 1.9% in people whose partners have recurrent, symptomatic outbreaks. GlaxoSmithKline, company that produces Valtrex, claims declines in transmission rates from 48% to 75% when the drug is used in conjunction with safe sex practices. There are tons more statistics in this report, which is what GSK reported to the FDA when they voted 11-0 to approve the use of Valtrex for reduction of HSV transmission.
TL;DR: I’m not a scientist or a doctor or a statistician. Does Valtrex help lower the likelihood of transmission? Yes. Does it eliminate the chance of transmission completely? No. Is it still important to use safe sex practices? Yes. Does it make a lot of people feel better about having sex when one partner has HSV and the other does not? Yes. So, ya know, have the chat you’re planning with your doctor. Tell him a bit about your sex life and what your specific concerns are and what your partner’s concerns are and what you’re hoping to accomplish by taking an anti-viral medication.
Keep in mind that anti-viral therapies like Valtrex can cause a variety of unpleasant side effects, they may interact with other medications, and they can be expensive, even in their generic forms. Make sure your doctor knows what else you’re taking, and check with your health insurance provider to see what’s covered.
Not surprised. I’ve been wondering all week if I was getting one. It’s one little bump on the hood above my clitoris, and some skin and nerve sensitivity running from my right outer labia along the bottom of my right butt cheek. It feels like somebody pinching a bruise, anywhere from just-enough-to-know-they-have-my-by-the-nads to GAH-STOP-IT-OW. It makes it uncomfortable to sit. My symptoms tend to be heavier on my left side, so this is kinda new.
Anyway, I allowed myself to go back to sleep until I wasn’t tired anymore. When I woke up again I took two of the smaller valacyclovir pills, a couple l-lysine, and a couple ibuprofin. The skin sensitivity has faded for now.
This is a smart approach to negating a virus. If you can’t beat the virus itself without negative consequences to the body, then stop what the virus uses to ‘trigger’ it’s effects.
I take a pill daily for it since I was diagnosed in March. Anyone else on suppressive therapy ?
I take them once or twice daily when I have outbreaks, when I think I feel prodromal symptoms, or when I know I’m going through a period of stress (like sickness, job change, not sleeping well, whatever). At my last annual I asked the doc for a daily script, which somehow translated to 5 months’ worth of pills by the time I went to pick up my first installment at pharmacy. The pills can be expensive, I’m terrible at remembering to take *anything* on a daily basis (thus my use of the NuvaRing), and for me they cause some unpleasant side effects.
Yesterday I took a V pill, and another last night at bedtime, and another this morning. I’ve still been feeling mild twinges in my vulva all day, and when I got home I poked around looking for blisters or sores. Didn’t find any, but it surprises and annoys me how determined this outbreak is to happen. I SAID NO, HERPZ. I’ll take another pill tonight and hopefully that will force it back underground.
I’ve taken an Advil, which will hopefully kick in by the time I go to bed. I’ll take another V then, just in case. Do NOT want to deal with an outbreak right now. Maybe I can head it off at the pass.
Breakfast and Birth Control!
Today was my annual appointment with my gyno. Or, more accurately, my CRNP, who is awesome and supportive and encouraging and awesome some more.
She did a breast exam, visually observed my nethers, took my Pap in about 10 seconds flat, and told me everything looked good. For the first time in my life I opted out of the chlamydia test, because I’ve been with the same dude and both of us have tested negative for it.
We discussed my birth control — I use the NuvaRing, have for years, and love it. She wrote out my new script, but also asked what I was paying for it. We discussed the confusing and vague wording of the Affordable Care Act in regards to free birth control. Then, in addition to writing out a new script for me, she gave me a sample ring (WOO FREE RING!) and a coupon, which came tucked into this cute little pouch.
I also asked her about a daily Valtrex therapy. While my outbreaks have become much, much milder, they’re still fairly frequent. She was supportive of the idea, and said that if I could afford the daily pill (which I feel I can swing, with the $20 copay on my new health insurance), she’d encourage me to try it. The drug has been around a long time and has proven to be very safe. So, I have a year’s worth of 500mg pills coming to me.
At the end of my appointment, after making absolutely sure I didn’t have any other questions to discuss with her, she walked me out to the front desk and wished me a good year. The lady behind the desk set up my appointment for next year and then told me that….wait for it….I HAD NO COPAY. With my last insurance policy I was forking over $40 a year for my annual.
So, free ring, coupon, script for a daily pill, and no copay, all provided by a friendly and supportive staff of medical professionals. I’d call that a fantastic start to a given Wednesday morning.
As per my yearly tradition, I took myself out for breakfast after my appointment. It’s my way of celebrating taking good care of myself. This year I opted for a jelly donut, one of those yogurts with candy to stir in, and a chai latte. In hind sight, way too sweet overall, but enjoyable.
I wish you all a happy Wednesday. May my good mood be shared by all.
I’m trying to decide if I should ask her for a once-daily prescription, even if it’s just for 6 months. Even if I fill it but don’t take them all the time and then just have a whole bunch of pills around whenever things get stressy.
Looking back, I’ve had outbreaks more frequently than the minimum at which they recommend you take a daily pill. But, they’ve also gotten milder, and it’s been a couple months, and I’ve had HSV for over a year, and maybe I’ve turned a corner where I don’t really need the meds now?
But I think that every time I go a month or two without an outbreak.
Not surprised. Holidays mean stress along with the fun things, and I’ve been dealing with the whole employment issue, and holidays also mean eating more junk food than normal.
Not a big deal. I have a refill coming to me on my last Rx for 30 x 500mg pills. I’ll be calling the pharmacy momentarily and picking them up some time today.
I was going to have them refilled anyway, while my health insurance is still safely intact. My annual with the gyno is next month (and hopefully I’ll still have insurance then), and I’ll probably talk to her about at least having a script for a daily pill, even if I don’t faithfully use them 100% of the time. My outbreaks have, as promised, become milder and milder, but I’ve definitely had them frequently enough to warrant a daily pill therapy.
Maybe 5 days ago Boyfriend walked in the house after work, looking like death warmed over.
Me: “What’s wrong?!”
Him: “Tired. And sick.
…I probably shouldn’t have kissed you just now.”
So I came down with this cold a couple days ago. I’ve been living in a fishbowl of sinus pressure, showering twice a day just for the steam, and hitting the neti pot pretty hard. Last night I was awake for several hours in the dark because I couldn’t breathe through my nose, so I was mouth-breathing like it was my job, and was dreadfully thirsty. Pretty sure all my tossing and turning and nose-blowing woke Boyfriend up a whole bunch, but sorry, dude. You brought it home and shared with the class.
This morning I made the decision to pop an L-lysine tablet and a valacyclovir pill along with my decongestants. Taxed immune system and lost sleep? Sounds like exactly the kind of time the HSV would show up to party. Sure enough, after breakfast I noticed a mild pinchy feeling in my labia. I had that feeling right before my last outbreak, and I thought that maybe my underwear was pinching my skin, or I had a pubic hair pulled in a bad direction or something. It felt like someone was actually pinching my skin and holding on.
I will continue to take my anti-herpes pills until this cold finally breaks and goes away. Hopefully it keeps the HSV at bay. I was pretty impressed with myself, actually taking preventative measures. LOOK AT ME, LEARNING TO FOLLOW THROUGH. GOOD GIRL. GOOOOD GIRL.
Took me long enough!
Pills: This time around, the doctor prescribed me the little valacyclovir pills, not the big ones (so, 500 mg, not 1g). The instructions on the bottle are to take them twice a day for 5 days (I stopped at three), and I have one refill that’s good for a year. During my primary outbreak I took the 1g pills twice a day for 10 days. After that the gyno continued to prescribe the large size, but I took them twice a day for three days as needed. Often once things started to heal I would stop taking them. The little pills seem to be working just fine, and they give me more of them, so my stash lasts longer. I’m ok with this.
Corn Starch: A few voices on the interwebs have suggested dabbing corn starch on sores to help them dry out faster. I’d never done this, because I never had corn starch on hand and it never occurred to me to go out and buy it for this purpose. Boyfriend and I made slow cooker chili for his fantasy football league’s draft party, and the recipe called for corn starch. So, having a whole bunch of it left over, I tried it out. After herpes blisters break, they become open sores that weep. Patting corn starch onto them turned the weepy fluid into more of a paste, which consequently stuck to my pubic hair, which then stuck to my underwear, and pulled painfully at unfortunate times. I can’t say that I loved it, but it wasn’t awful, and for all I know it helped. If you want to give it a try, I’d say go ahead and see if it works for you. Let me know what happens.
More Pills: Despite the bajillion sources recommending L-lysine as a herpes treatment and prevention method, and despite having encouraged countless other people to use it, I’d never actually taken it myself. Mostly I never felt like spending money on it. When I went to pick up my script, I broke down and paid, like, $7 for a bottle of 100 of them. I figured that I was also spending about $10 on supplies for my Halloween costume, and my health should be at least as valuable to me, right? The instructions said to take 2 per day “for healthier skin,” so I kept the bottle next to my valacycovir bottle, and took them together twice a day. Will I continue to take them daily, let alone twice a day, after my outbreak completely clears? I doubt it. I’ve tried multiple times over the years to get into the habit of taking a simple vitamin on a daily basis and failed miserably. This is exactly the reason I rely on the NuvaRing for my birth control, not a daily pill. But, I have no problem throwing an L-lysine tab down my throat every time I pop an anti-viral, so that will probably become my standard outbreak treatment in future.