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How do antivirals affect the whole body?

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I know they stop herpes from multiplying so the immune system can suppress it, but what about side effects? 

A friend of mine had an abdominal surgery done like half a year ago and –among many other medicine– she got a large dose of acyclovir because where I live it’s necessary for every hospital to give a cocktail of strong meds to every surgery patient to ward off possible infections of the wound while the immune system is busy with recovering. Idk about other countries tho. She said it took a few months for the meds to completely leave her system and they caused her hair loss and other problems. 

I take 400mg once a day for suppressive therapy and three times a day during outbreaks. Can it harm any natural balance in my body, like the absorbtion of certain vitamines and minerals or such...? I just recently stopped bleaching my hair and I’m looking forward to growing it out really long but what she told me concerns me a little...

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I've been taking valtrex for 5 years and haven't had side effects, but drugs affect everyone differently. I think it's a good idea to get blood work done at least annually. Acyclovir is mainly metabolized by the kidneys. 

However, the half life for acyclovir and valacyclovir is 2.5-3.3 hours (quite short), so even at very high doses, it's out of your body in a few days once you stop taking it. I highly doubt it was the cause of your friend's hair loss and other problems unless they occurred very shortly after the surgery. 

I don't think it has an impact on how other medications are absorbed. Make sure your doctors know you're taking it if you're ever prescribed other medications.

Anything you put in your body (including supplements) has the potential to cause side effects or issues, and I think it's up to each individual to be as informed as possible and weigh the impact of a medication on quality of life vs. risk and side effects. Acyclovir has been around for decades and is proven to be quite safe. If it's not causing you to have side effects and it is improving your quality of life, then I think that it's worth taking. 


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