Valtrex valacyclovir is used to treat cold sores (herpes labialis) and shingles (herpes zoster). It is also used to treat genital herpes in patients with normal immune systems. Valacyclovir can also be used to control genital herpes outbreaks in all patients, including those with HIV. This is also known as suppressive therapy. This medication helps control symptoms, but does not cure the disease.
Valtrex is an antiviral drug. It slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus so that the body can fight off the infection. Valtrex drug is used to treat infections caused by herpes viruses. Illnesses caused by herpes viruses include genital herpes, cold sores, shingles, and chicken pox. This medication will not cure herpes, but it can lessen the symptoms of the infection.
Valtrex is a powerful drug whose main ingredient is a chemical called "valaciclovir" and it's called an anti-viral because it attacks viruses and keeps them from replicating. Replicating is a scientific word for duplicating itself. A virus is made up of a little bit of DNA in a protein capsule. It sneaks into whatever cells it attacks and injects the DNA into the cells' DNA, making the cell do the work of making more viruses. What Valtrex does it sort of stand in front of the cell DNA and block the virus from taking over. It also stops a chemical called "viral DNA polymerase." DNA polymerase is needed for viruses to copy themselves. When you take a Valtrex tablet, it dissolves in your stomach and gets absorbed into your bloodstream. Your body changes the active ingredients of Valtrex medicine into a chemical called "aciclovir." The acyclovir travels through your bloodstream until it finds viruses that match its chemical makeup--herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2), and varicella-zoster virus (ZVV). If you take Valtrex pills according to directions, the Valtrex will slow down and possibly stop the spread of the infection, giving your immune system a chance to kick in and take over.
This medication is indicated for the treatment or suppression of genital herpes in immunocompetent individuals and for the suppression of recurrent genital herpes in HIV-infected individuals. When Valtrex is used as suppressive therapy in immunocompetent individuals with genital herpes, the risk of heterosexual transmission to susceptible partners is reduced. Valtrex will not prevent the spread of genital herpes. Herpes infections are contagious and you can infect other people even while you are taking with Valtrex. Therapy should be initiated at the earliest sign or symptom of herpes zoster and is most effective when started within 48 hours of the onset of zoster rash. No data are available on efficacy of treatment started greater than 72 hours after rash onset.
Directions for use:
Treatment with Valtrex should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters). This medication might not be as effective if you first start taking it 1 or 2 days after the start of your symptoms. Take each dose with a full glass of water. Drink plenty of water while you are taking Valtrex to keep your kidneys working properly.Valtrex can be taken with or without food. Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated. Valtrex will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu. Lesions caused by herpes viruses should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Wearing loose clothing may help to prevent irritation of the lesions.
Valtrex belongs to a group of herpes medications.
Valtrex Safety Info
Before taking Valtrex medicine, tell your doctor if you have HIV/AIDS, kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis), or if you have had a kidney or bone marrow transplant. Valaciclovir can be harmful to the kidneys, and these effects are increased when it is used together with other medicines that can harm the kidneys.
Herpes virus can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. If you have genital herpes, it is very important to prevent herpes lesions during your pregnancy so that you do not have a genital lesion when your baby is born.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you are using. You may need dose adjustments or special tests when taking certain medications together with Valtrex tablets.
Avoid sexual intercourse or use a latex condom to prevent spreading the virus to others. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Avoid touching an infected area and then touching your eyes. Wash your hands frequently to prevent passing the infection to others.
- Herpes Zoster: 1 gram orally 3 times daily for 7 days
- Genital Herpes - Initial Episodes: 1 gram twice daily for 10 days
- Genital Herpes - Recurrent Episodes: 500 mg twice daily for 3 days
- Genital Herpes - Suppressive Therapy: is 1 gram once daily
- Cold Sores: 2 grams twice daily for 1 day taken about 12 hours apart
Valtrex Side Effects
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain