I have been taking suppressive therapy for genital herpes for quite awhile. Do I need to stop? I would rather not. It has kept my outbreaks controlled but I’m more afraid of the long term damage it may cause.
We received several inquiries about this recently so your concern is understandable. Thus far suppressive therapy appears to be safe. In Managing Herpes: Living & Loving with HSV by Charles Ebel and Anna Wald, MD, MPH, the authors note “Suppressive therapy with acyclovir has been studied in thousands of patients over the past 15 years, and so far it appears to be very safe.” In fact the authors state that in previous trials headaches, nausea and diarrhea were side effects experienced but this is rare to occur.
Tests to ascertain impaired liver function and white blood cell count yielded no evidence of harm to internal organs due to acyclovir. If you are taking a newer drug, the authors do note these have not been studied as long as acyclovir but safety data thus far appears to be similar to acyclovir.