• Can I develop an immunity to medication for herpes?


    Question:

    I am 42 and suffer from herpes keratitis in my right eye that has caused corneal scarring but I am luckily still able to see OK. I have not had an active attack in about 15 years, however I suffer from frequent cold sores on my nostrils. I have recently tried the oral famciclovir to treat the cold sores and was surprised how well it worked. My question is if I continue to use them, will I develop some immunity to the oral anti-viral, that would diminish their effectiveness should I ever need them for an ocular herpes attack in the future?


    Answer:

    In contrast to antibiotics, long-term use of herpetic anti-viral medications does not seem to increase the incidence of drug resistance. In fact, despite widespread use of anti-virals such as acyclovir over the past 20 years, the rate of anti-viral resistance in patients with an intact immune system has been stable at less than 1%. In patients who have recurrent ocular herpes flares, preventative use of anti-virals has proven to be extremely effective in suppressing further episodes.


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