Valtrex, also known as Valacyclovir, is a medication used to treat a variety of conditions related to the herpes virus. Valacyclovir belongs to an antiviral drug. It works by preventing the virus from multiplying and spreading in the body.
Valacyclovir is an antiviral medicine that is used to treat infections caused by certain types of viruses, including herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Valacyclovir is available only with a prescription from a doctor.
Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is a prescription medication commonly used to treat viral infections such as herpes, shingles, and chickenpox. It is an effective treatment for cold sores, genital herpes, and shingles. Valtrex can help reduce the severity and duration of these infections, as well as prevent them from occurring in those who are prone to recurrent outbreaks.
Uses and Dosage
Valacyclovir comes in the form of a tablet to be taken by mouth, with or without food, as directed by your doctor. You need to drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication to help reduce the risk of side effects.
- The typical dose is 2 grams by mouth twice daily (taken 12 hours apart) for 1 day.
- First outbreak: The typical dose is 1 gram by mouth twice daily for 10 days.
- Repeated outbreaks: The typical dose is 500 mg by mouth twice daily for 3 days.
- Outbreak prevention: The typical dosing range is 500 mg to 1 gram by mouth once daily, depending on the number of outbreaks you’ve had. For people who also have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the typical dose is 500 mg twice daily.
- Lower risk of transmission: The typical dose is 500 mg by mouth once daily.
- The typical dose is 1 gram by mouth 3 times daily for 7 days.
- Your child’s provider will determine their dose of valacyclovir (Valtrex) based on your child’s body weight. The typical dose is 20 mg/kg by mouth 3 times daily for 5 days. The maximum recommended dose is 1 gram.
Common Side Effects of Valtrex
- Feeling sad or empty
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
Serious Side Effects of Valtrex
- Fever or pale skin
- Unusual bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums)
- Red or pink urine, little or no urination
- Red spots on the skin (not related to herpes or chickenpox)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Stomach pain, bloody diarrhea, or vomiting
- Swelling in your face, hands, or feet
Form and Strength
Valtrex and its generic alternative Valacyclovir are available in the following forms and strengths:
- 250 mg
- 500 mg
- 1000 mg
- 500 mg
- 1000 mg
- Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to acyclovir; or if you have any other allergies. Additionally, this product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. It is important to talk to your pharmacist for more details before taking valacyclovir.
- Be aware that alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you dizzier. Therefore, you should not drive, use machinery, or do anything that requires alertness until you can do it safely.
- Not have certain immunizations/vaccinations (such as vaccines against the varicella virus) without the consent of your doctor. Some vaccines may be contraindicated in certain situations, and it is important to get medical advice before receiving any immunizations/vaccinations.
- Valtrex (Valacyclovir) can cause side effects in older adults, such as mental/mood changes (such as confusion, agitation) and kidney problems (such as a change in the amount of urine). Be aware of these potential side effects and consult with their doctor if they experience any of these symptoms.
- During pregnancy, Valtrex medication should be used only when clearly needed and after weighing the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Valacyclovir used to treat?
Valacyclovir is an antiviral medication used to treat infections caused by certain types of viruses, such as herpes zoster (shingles), herpes simplex, and varicella zoster.
How does Valacyclovir work?
Valacyclovir works by inhibiting the production of viral DNA, thus preventing the virus from replicating, and spreading.
How soon can I expect the effects of Valacyclovir to begin?
You may begin to experience relief from symptoms within 24-48 hours of starting Valacyclovir treatment. However, it is important to take the full course of treatment, even if you are feeling better, to ensure the virus is completely eradicated.
How should I take valacyclovir?
Start taking valacyclovir as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, and blisters). Take valacyclovir exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. This medicine might not be as effective if you first start taking it 1 or 2 days after the start of your symptoms.