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Acyclovir -vs- Valtrex

Discussion in 'Antivirals, Antibiotics and Immune Modulators' started by Misfit Toy, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

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    I started taking Acyclovir a few days ago. I have fever blisters in mouth and extremely high EBV titers. My immunologist wants me on it also because I make hardly any lymphocytes and have idiopathic lymphopenia.

    I used to take Valtrex but have no prescription coverage right now. I know it's very expensive. Valtrex would get rid of fever blisters in a day or 2. Acyclovir is not touching them. I also feel really sick from this med. I am having extreme pain. Or, maybe it's just something else.

    I have Intercostal Neuralgia. There are not many things that can cause it other than Herpes or Shingles or a trauma to the ribs. I have not had trauma to ribs. I am playing doctor and feeling like it must be from EBV which is a herpes virus like shingles. No doctor thinks like this which makes no sense to me. This just came on out of nowhere and after years of doctor's looking at me and having wide eyes at my titer levels of EBV.

    Does anyone know if Acyclovir is less strong than Valtrex? My immunologist feels that they are exactly the same in strength. Please share any thoughts of guidance and if you know how to receive Valtrex for less or a good pharmacy for it...also share that.

    Thank you.
     
  2. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Have you considered buying generic Valtrex from India? I had no good results from Acyclovir but responded to Valtrex very quickly.
     
  3. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Community Support Volunteer

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    @Misfit Toy Sadly I do not know the answer but had literally just Googled Acyclovir and Valtrex (before reading your post) b/c I thought they were the same med and just learned that the first is Zovirax. My understanding was that Zovirax was only for shingles but I could be totally wrong and I know for EBV that these are all prescribed "off label" any way.

    I have very high EBV titers too (don't know about the other viruses yet and will find out next week.) I wish you the best and please keep us posted. Is this your first time trying an anti-viral for EBV or have you taken one before? If so, which one and how did it work for you?
     
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  4. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Community Support Volunteer

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    @ukxmrv Did you respond to Valtrex very quickly for EBV (or different virus?) and what did you notice?
     
  5. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    Valtrex(valacyclovir) is a prodrug for acyclovir, meaning Valtrex changes into acyclovir in the body, but has greater bioavailability. As I understand it, this helps more of the active drug get into the body so you have to take it less often -- usually 2x daily as opposed to 5x daily for acyclovir. Acyclovir is much cheaper than Valtrex, which is why it is often preferred.

    If you feel the acyclovir is not working as well as Valtrex did, it is possible that you are not getting as much of the active metabolite into your system because of the difference in dosing and bioavailability between the two medications. You might be able to ask your doctor about that. You might need to increase your acyclovir dosage to get the same amount of acyclovir you were getting with Valtrex.
     
  6. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    Have you checked with Target or Walmart? They have a list of RX's that are really cheap.

    I couldn't tolerate Valtrex but had some positive result with Acyclovir If you know Valtrex works, see if you can get on their patient assistance program.

    @heapsreal knows antivirals so he will see this but I don't believe the dosages are the same for Acyclovir and Valtrex. Valtrex was 500 mgs 2x/day and Acyclovr was 2400 mgs a day in divided doses if I remember correctly.
     
  7. geraldt52

    geraldt52

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    Muscle and joint pain is a "rare" side effect of acyclovir. I always like the "rare" characterization...it really doesn't matter if it only occurs in 2% of the people who take it, if you're one of the 2%.

    Without having any idea, and after about a year on acyclovir, I had made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon because the pain in my lower back had become so bad it was debilitating. On a hunch, I stopped the acyclovir first, and within a week the pain was 90%+ gone. Valtrex did the same thing...to me.

    Because I notice a definite benefit, I'm still trying to find a way to take the acyclovir, now 3 years later...with no luck.

    Just be aware that new or worsened pain may be the acyclovir. In my case the pain was in the general location of old injuries.
     
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  8. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

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    Okay, so I really started it 3 days ago. The first night, after 2 pills, I was in excruciating pain. I mean, through the roof. Yesterday I took it again, but on Fentanyl because my pain was out of this world. By last night, my one hand was curling under. Like a stroke patient and my fingers were tingling. It was crazy. Like a neurotoxin and I thought...maybe it's killing the virus and the onslaught is killing my pain up several notches. But, it was excruciating.

    I had to take so much medicine to sleep last night and kept chugging water. For 2 days my tongue has been stark white. Not usual for me. My tongue is usually bright red.

    Something is up.

    Valtrex.....Valtrex didn't do this to me. I took several pills. I took it once for a month and felt exhausted, but the pain was not like this. And, it kicked my fever blisters to the curb. After 2 pills of Valtrex-1,000 mg., my FB would be gone in my mouth.

    Right now, my fever blisters are raging in pain in my mouth after 5 pills of acy. But, I don't think I can take it anymore right now because the pain is causing me to see STARS.

    @geraldt52 -That is crazy and I am so glad you let me know. Thank you. I have been wondering...what is going on?!! Also, you said you noticed a benefit. Can you tell me what you noticed for positive reinforcement because I need to think about antivirals long term due to this intercostal neuralgia and the lymphopenia.
     
  9. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I didn't have a before and after of virus titres (I am in the UK and had only had some HH private tests years before) so I don't know which virus the Valtrex was fighting. The first thing I noticed was that the burning in my legs was much better. Then over the months that I had less sore throats and swollen glands.

    For me it works best with either Imunvoir or Celebrex.
     
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  10. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

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    I wish I could take Celebrex but I am allergic to sulfur and it has sulfur in it.
     
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  11. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Try famvir. If thinking celebrex for pain but can look into mobic, it's good anti inflammatory.

    famvir is normally used even valtrex/acyclovir isn't doing the job. Worth a cracked.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
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  12. geraldt52

    geraldt52

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    Your pain experience doesn't mirror mine, Misfit Toy, as mine was gradual onset. But, I don't think anyone, including the manufacturer, understands the pain connection, so that probably doesn't mean anything. My advice would be to stop the acyclovir and see if the pain stops. If it does, you have the answer. I have started and stopped acyclovir scores of times, and the pain starts and stops right on cue...noticeable within a few days.

    The benefit I see from acyclovir, and Valtrex, is a greater resistance to the more or less constant "viral" relapses I'm susceptible to. I usually describe the effect as me being "more durable", with many fewer "relapses". It's definitely not "the answer", but it makes me more functional than I would be otherwise.

    I've also noticed that acyclovir often makes my insomnia much better, and then other times it makes it much worse. I have no idea why, but be aware of that, if you end up with severe insomnia seemingly out of nowhere.
     
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  13. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

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    Thank you. I stopped it. I am still waiting for my hand to stop having what feels like needles going through it and it's continuing to curl up and under. Strange.....
     
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  14. PNR2008

    PNR2008 Senior Member

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    @Misfit Toy, you're scarying me. I'm glad you stopped. Think about that martini you had on vacation. I can't stop thinking about it, Beefeaters, on the rocks with 4 olives PLEEEEEEZE.
     
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  15. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

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    @PNR2008 !! You are so funny! I can't stop thinking about that tiny excursion. Better than any medicine I've taken lately! Salt water, sand, bell hops and a martini!

    Did you move? How are you?
     
  16. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Community Support Volunteer

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    @Misfit Toy Did you decide to stop the acyclovir permanently and how is your hand doing today? Are you thinking of trying a differfent a/v or is that an option?
     
  17. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

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    @Gingergrrl43-thank you for asking me. I am still in pain, but it's my fibro pain and the hand seems to be better. That pain was weird and intense. I took 2 pills on Friday and woke up 2 hours after falling asleep in pain like I had never felt. The hand feels a little weak, but nothing like it did. I would like to go on either Valtrex or Famvir. I know NOTHING about Famvir. I don't even know what it is so have to look it up.
     
  18. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Community Support Volunteer

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    @Misfit Toy I'm glad you are feeling a little better today especially your hand. When I get a new or weird symptom, it tends to really scare me, too! I don't know if this will help you but I started a thread yesterday re: everyone's experiences with anti-virals and it might answer some of your questions re: Valtrex & Famvir. The full name is Famciclovir and I think this is what I will soon be taking but don't know yet.

    ETA: I'm sorry I don't know how to link that thread to this post and want to learn how to do that when I have more brain energy :)
     
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