Differences Between Valtrex, Acyclovir and Famvir

Valtrex, Acyclovir, and Famvir all treat symptoms of herpes outbreaks. Acyclovir can be used as a topical treatment for chickenpox as well. Famvir is known to be effective for repeated herpes outbreaks in people who are HIV-positive.


Reviewed by:  Daniel Williams, MD

Genital herpes can be an annoyance and an embarrassment to the person infected with it. For some, explaining it to a potential sexual partner or an existing one can be difficult to do. But there are treatments available to treat the virus and make it less of a nuisance to those who are infected.

Although there is no known cure at this time, it is possible to treat the outbreaks with medications like Valtrex, Acyclovir and Famvir. Each of these treatments has a unique purpose and application. Following are some of the main differences between each treatment so you and your doctor can choose the right one for you, in case you’re ever in a situation that warrants their use.

What is each Treatment used for?

Valtrex is used to treat a variety of herpes viruses, including genital herpes, shingles and cold sores. While Valtrex does not cure herpes, the once-daily treatment does help decrease the occurrence of regular outbreaks.
Acyclovir is used for many of the same reasons as Valtrex. In addition to genital herpes, shingles and cold sores, it can also be used as a treatment for mononucleosis and as a topical cream for chickenpox. Famvir is generally used for cold sores, shingles and genital herpes like the others. It has also been known to be an effective treatment for recurrent genital herpes outbreaks in HIV patients.

How does each Treatment get used?

Valtrex is used as a daily treatment. This means that persons infected with the herpes virus take this medication once a day to reduce the chance of periodic outbreaks. It doesn’t cure the virus, but it keeps it inactive in the body’s system so outward signs won’t show.  To read more about the most common genital herpes FAQs answered, check out our informative health article.
Acyclovir is used as an episodic treatment. As such, the infected person uses the medication whenever an outbreak occurs. It is also available as a topical cream that can be used on the infected skin to relieve the pain and irritation of the sores. In severe cases, Acyclovir may be prescribed as a suppression treatment or for daily use. This is extremely rare due to the fact that the body can build up a tolerance and render the medication useless.

Famvir is prescribed for use at the first sign of an outbreak to slow the spread of cold sores or eliminate them altogether. Instead of taking the medication on a daily basis or waiting until cold sores arrive, Famvir is typically used as a one-time treatment that stops the spread or prevents the symptoms from becoming a hassle.

One thing these treatments have in common is that they are all available through eDrugstore.com. The company’s live support staff is available at 1-800-467-0297 to answer all your questions about these FDA-approved treatments. Ordering online also saves the inconvenience and discomfort of purchasing the medications from your local pharmacy.

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