Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Does Valacyclovir Work For Genital Herpes

Suppressive Valacyclovir Therapy To Reduce Genital Herpes Transmission: Good Public Health Policy

Valtrex (Valacyclovir) – Uses, Dosing, Side Effects

Paul Bonnar

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How Long Does Valacyclovir Take To Work

The amount of time required for valacyclovir to control a herpes or chickenpox outbreak varies based on the severity of the outbreak and how soon you take valacyclovir after noticing herpes symptoms.

For most initial herpes outbreaks and cases of recurring herpes, valacyclovir takes effect very quickly and provides some level of relief in as little as two to three days. Generally, the sooner you take valacyclovir after noticing symptoms, the faster it will be to provide relief.

Its important to remember that every outbreak is different, meaning valacyclovir can potentially take less or more time than the figures listed above to provide relief and control over a shingles infection or herpes outbreak.

Our guide to how long valacyclovir takes to become effective covers more about valacyclovirs onset of action and average time to start working for different viral injections.

Can You Take Famciclovir Daily

Yes, famciclovir can be taken daily for herpes suppression, to lower the risk of genital herpes or shingles outbreaks.

You may be prescribed 250 mg of the medicine to be taken twice a day for 12 months.

Suppression therapy is also advised during pregnancy to avoid viral shedding and transmission of HSV infection to the baby.

Studies have shown that famciclovir is safe when administered over a period of 1 year. Speak to your doctor if you plan to take famciclovir for longer than 52 weeks.

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Common Side Effects Of Valtrex

Taking Valtrex may cause side effects, such as:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain

Its unknown whether Valtrex causes other adverse effects like hair loss, weight gain, dry mouth, or any other symptoms not listed by the United States Food and Drug Administration . This is not a complete list of side effects. Other side effects may occur. Consult your healthcare provider if you have questions about side effects of Valtrex.

A frequently asked question about Valtrex is whether it will make you urinate more often. It wont necessarily make you pee more, but you should drink plenty of water while taking Valtrex to help the kidneys process it as best they can. Therefore, this extra hydration can result in frequent urination.

How Does Valacyclovir Work

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Valacyclovir works by making it harder for herpes simplex infections to spread through your skin, curbing outbreaks and helping your immune system to clear the infection from your skin cells faster. The medication does this by blocking an enzyme the virus uses to make copies of itself. This slows how fast the virus can multiply and spread.Whilst valacyclovir wont permanently cure your infection, it can make your outbreaks less severe and shorter lasting. You can also take a lower strength daily version of valacyclovir to stop outbreaks from occurring.

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What Are Warnings And Precautions For Valacyclovir


  • This medication contains valacyclovir. Do not take Valtrex if you are allergic to valacyclovir or any ingredients contained in this drug.
  • Keep out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.


  • Hypersensitivity to valacyclovir or acyclovir

Effects of Drug Abuse

Switch Medications If Necessary

Acyclovir is another antiviral drug that can be used to treat herpes virus and varicella-zoster virus infections. Neither medication is better than the other, but if someone cant tolerate Valtrex or has an underlying medical condition that prevents them from taking it, acyclovir is another good option. You can compare the medications here.

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Does Valacyclovir Make You Gain Weight

Whilst valacyclovir can cause some side effects including headaches, abdominal pain and nausea, it isnt thought to cause weight gain. None of the studies or clinical trials of valacyclovir found weight gain as a side effect. There have been some anecdotal reports of valacyclovir causing weight gain but there are also anecdotal accounts of it causing weight loss. All of this is unverified and the weight changes could be coincidental. Talk to your doctor if youre concerned about any valacyclovir side effects.

When You Must Not Take Them

Anti-Herpetic Drugs – How They Work
  • Do not take Valtrex tablets if you have ever had an allergic reaction to valaciclovir, aciclovir or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction may be mild or severe. They usually include some or all of the following: wheezing, swelling of the lips/mouth, difficulty in breathing, hay fever, lumpy rash or fainting.
  • Do not take Valtrex tablets if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or breast-feeding, unless your doctor says you should.
  • Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of using Valtrex tablets when pregnant and during breast-feeding.
  • Do not take Valtrex tablets after the expiry date printed on the pack.
  • If you take it after the expiry date has passed, it may not work as well.
  • Do not take Valtrex tablets if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering.
  • If you are not sure whether you should be taking Valtrex, talk to your doctor.

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Valacyclovir Brand Names Dosages And Interactions

Valacyclovir is available as a generic medication or under several brand names. In the United States, valacyclovir is most commonly sold as Valtrex, which is the original trade name for the drug marketed by GlaxoSmithKline.

Today, valacyclovir is available as a generic medication, meaning there are numerous different trade names in use. Most of the companies manufacturing valacyclovir offer it in several doses, including 500mg and 1,000mg tablets.

The recommended dosage of valacyclovir varies based on the type of HSV or VZV virus thats being treated, as well as your age. Generally, the most common dosages are as follows:

  • For adults with shingles, 1,000mg of valacyclovir three times daily, for a total of seven days. Its recommended to begin treatment within 72 hours of noticing shingles.

  • For adults with cold sores, a dose of 2,000mg of valacyclovir is typically used, with a secondary dose of 2,000mg within 12 hours.

  • For adults treating a first outbreak of genital herpes, 1,000mg of valacyclovir two times daily for a total of 10 days. Its recommended to begin treatment within 48 hours of the herpes symptoms becoming noticeable.

  • For adults with recurring genital herpes, 500mg of valacyclovir two times daily for a total of three days. Its recommended to begin valacyclovir treatment as soon as a recurrent herpes symptom becomes visible.

Getting The Most From Your Treatment

  • You should drink plenty while you are on valaciclovir to keep your kidneys working well. Drinking water is best, but hot drinks and non-alcoholic cold drinks are also suitable.
  • Valaciclovir could cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than it is usually. Avoid strong sunlight and sunbeds, and use a sun cream with a high sun protection factor until you know how your skin reacts.
  • If you have been prescribed valaciclovir for genital herpes, do not have sex while you have sores or blisters. Even after these have healed, there is still a small chance that you may pass on the virus when you have sex – using a condom reduces this risk.
  • If you are having an operation or any other medical treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking valaciclovir.

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What Conditions Do Acyclovir And Valacyclovir Treat

Acyclovir and valacyclovir are both used for the following indications:

  • Treatment of chickenpox

Additionally, the acyclovir injection can be used to treat:

  • Herpes of the brain in children and adults
  • Herpes infection in newborn babies

Acyclovir and valacyclovir do not cure cold sores, herpes, or shingles. However, they relieve the symptoms of the outbreaks and help the lesions heal faster.

Which Is Better Acyclovir Or Valacyclovir

Valacyclovir Genital Herpes Treatment

The choice between acyclovir and valacyclovir depends on a few factors, including side effects and how often you take the medication. Acyclovir and valacyclovir are equally effective. However, you are more likely to follow your medication regimen if you only need to take medicine once or twice a day versus five times per day.

On the other hand, acyclovir is available as an oral suspension and tablets that dissolve under the tongue. These formulations are easier to use with children or people who have trouble swallowing pills.

Acyclovir is also available as a cream and an ointment. These topical formulations may be applied directly to cold sores or herpes lesions.

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How Should This Medicine Be Used

Valacyclovir comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 8 hours for 7 days to treat shingles. To treat genital herpes it is usually taken twice a day for 5 days. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take valacyclovir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Use this medication as soon as possible after symptoms appear.

Continue to take valacyclovir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking valacyclovir without talking to your doctor.

How Long To Take Them

For the treatment of herpes infections, the usual course of treatment is five days. However in some instances your doctor may want you to take your tablets for ten days.

For prevention of herpes infections, you should continue to take this medicine every day as prescribed by your doctor.

Do not stop taking Valtrex tablets just because you feel better. The herpes outbreak may not be completely over.

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Important Information About All Medicines

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

How Do You Take Acyclovir And Valacyclovir

Valtrex (Valacyclovir) : Know Your Drug

The dose of both acyclovir and valacyclovir varies depending on your body weight and the condition you are treating. Your healthcare provider will decide what dose is best for you. Oral valacyclovir is more readily available in your body than oral acyclovir. It can be taken once or twice a day, while acyclovir is generally taken up to five times a day.

If you have kidney disease, talk to your doctor about adjusting your acyclovir or valacyclovir dose.

Acyclovir works better if you take it as soon as possible after experiencing symptoms of herpes infection, chickenpox, or shingles. You can take acyclovir with or without meals, but it is best to take the medication with a full glass of water.

You should take valacyclovir within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. You can take this medication with or without food. To protect your kidneys, drink extra liquids while you are taking valacyclovir.

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What Should I Discuss With My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Valacyclovir

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to valacyclovir or acyclovir .

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney disease
  • a weak immune system
  • HIV or AIDS or
  • a kidney transplant or bone marrow transplant.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Herpes can be passed to your baby during childbirth if you have a genital lesion when your baby is born. If you have genital herpes, it is very important to prevent herpes lesions during pregnancy. Take your medicine as directed to best control your infection.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.

How Long Does Famciclovir Take To Work

Famvir acts rapidly if taken at the first signs of an outbreak . You should usually notice an improvement in symptoms after 48 hours. If your immune system is weak, it may take a little longer for your body to heal.

Whether famciclovir provides the same level of efficacy if taken later than 48 hours after the first signs of a genital herpes outbreak or the onset of shingles is not well understood.

Open sores and blisters usually take 2 to 4 weeks to heal fully if untreated.

If youve previously been prescribed acyclovir and are swapping to famciclovir, the dosage may appear a little different. Famciclovir has a much longer half-life than acyclovir, which means that you may end up taking fewer pills.

Famciclovir can take longer to work during your first HSV-1, HSV-2 or shingles infection.

When taking the medication during recurring outbreaks, you may notice symptoms subsiding much faster.

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Valacyclovir May Interact With Other Medications

An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs youre taking.

To find out how valacyclovir oral tablet might interact with something else youre taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that youre taking.

This drug comes with several warnings.

I Already Have An Active Lesion/outbreak Will This Work

Valacyclovir Genital Herpes Treatment

Valacyclovir works best when taken at the first signs of an outbreak. For an oral outbreak, this can be when you feel that tingly, itching, blistering or burning in or around the mouth. For a genital outbreak, this can be a fever, body aches, swollen glands, or sores which appear as one or more blisters on or around the mouth, rectum or genitals. Valacyclovir can be used if you already have an outbreak, but it is not as effective as when taken within 24 hours after the first signs of your flare up.

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Is Valtrex Bad For Your Liver

In Closing. Valacyclovir is not considered a liver toxic drug. With a Category D rating from LiverTox, its well behind common drugs such as aspirin in terms of liver injury risk. When taken at a normal dose, valacyclovir is highly unlikely to cause liver damage in individuals with normal liver health.

What Is Valacyclovir And How Does It Work

Valacyclovir is an antiviral suppressive approved by the FDA to treat herpes simplex, which is categorized into two types, herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2 . HSV-1 is most commonly associated with cold sores , while HSV-2 is the main cause of genital herpes. Valacyclovir works by blocking the virus’ polymerase enzyme. By doing so, the medicine is able to stop the herpes simplex virus from building DNA and replicating itself inside of you. This reduces the severity of your herpes outbreaks, and when taken as a suppressive therapy for genital herpes, reduces the ability of the virus to transfer between hosts. The active ingredient in valacyclovir is valacyclovir hydrochloride. Head over to our bloghere for more information about how valacyclovir works and some history about the product.

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Can I Take Acyclovir Or Valacyclovir If I Am Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

Both acyclovir and valacyclovir are classified as pregnancy category B. This means that the medication is generally safe to use during pregnancy if it is clearly needed. Other drugs classified as pregnancy category B include prenatal vitamins and acetaminophen .

Acyclovir and valacyclovir can pass into breastmilk to some degree. The manufacturers of both drugs recommend using these medications cautiously if you are nursing.

Can Valacyclovir Stop Genital Herpes From Spreading

Valtrex (valacyclovir) for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Valacyclovir is an oft-prescribed treatment for both oral and genital herpes. It also treats chickenpox, since thats also a herpes virus strain. While valacyclovir primarily is used to prevent herpes outbreaks or lower their frequency in people who already carry the virus, by doing so the drug also lowers the risk of transmission. The weakened virus will have a more difficult time spreading to other people.

Research has found that using valacyclovir will reduce the risk of transmission by about 50%. If in addition, you use condoms, the risk of contagion drops by another 50%. So, the total risk reduction is about 75% of whatever the initial risk was. Its not 100% safe, but a significant improvement of your odds. Keep in mind that valacyclovir can only do its magic as long as you take the drug. Studies have found that daily valacyclovir therapy for the duration of one year didnt cause any safety issues or major side effects. Talk to your doctor about whether valacyclovir could be the right choice for you if you suffer from recurring genital herpes outbreaks.

If you arent a herpes carrier yourself but your partner is, to be safer yet, just avoid having sex when your partner has an active outbreak, even if he does take valacyclovir. By the way, the same goes for oral sex. If your partner has cold sores , dont let him or her give you oral sex, and avoid skin-to-skin contact with the affected area on his or her mouth.

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