How to treat genital herpes during breastfeeding?
That question floats around the Internet all the time.
Genital herpes is a very common disease in the USA. According to the surveys, about 1 in 5 persons suffer from genital herpes and this number grows every year. It is considered that if once a person is infected with genital herpes, this infection remains in the body forever. However, currently, there are effective drugs that are able to cure an outbreak. These drugs also help keep the infection from manifesting in people who experience repeated outbreaks.
Earlier, genital herpes was usually treated with Acyclovir. But in recent years, this infection is treated much effectively and easier with such antiviral drugs as Valtrex or Famvir. Valtrex is converted into acyclovir and remains in the body much longer, allowing sick people to get the drug twice a day instead of 5 times a day.
What about the use of Valtrex while breastfeeding?
It is known that acyclovir crosses into breast milk but at levels that are not dangerous to newborns. Since Valtrex is a much more active medicine, researchers wanted to study if this drug is also safe. Recent studies show that Valtrex is safe for your newborn.
The scientists conducted numerous studies and they did not find any birth defects in the fetus or abnormalities in development. According to studies, the use of Valtrex by pregnant and breastfeeding women was highly effective in preventing infection of newborns and did not adversely affect fetal development.
During one recent study, Valtrex 500 mg was given twice a day for a week to five breastfeeding women. The amount of Acyclovir and Valtrex was tested in breast milk. The amount of Valtrex in the newborn’s urine was tested, as well. Acyclovir was detected in the milk. However, the amount was much less than that used to treat herpes-infected newborns. Valtrex was not found in the milk. So, this study confirms that Valtrex is safe during breastfeeding.
Valtrex dosage while breastfeeding
Valtrex is administered to breastfeeding mothers in a minimally effective dosage. When taking Valtrex orally, the active ingredients easily penetrate into breast milk and can enter the child’s body. If the treatment with Valtrex is required, breastfeeding mothers should keep a close eye on the behavior of the child.
Studies have shown that when taking the drug at therapeutic doses, Valtrex does not affect breastfed children, since the dose received by a baby with breast milk is less than 2% of the therapeutic dose with intravenous administration of acyclovir for the treatment of neonatal herpes. Valtrex should be administered with caution during breastfeeding and in accordance with clinical indications.
Whether it is necessary to treat a pregnant woman with Valtrex tablets, only the doctor decides. The specialist prescribes it only if the benefit of treating the mother significantly prevails over the risks of abnormal development of the fetus or newborn.