When To See A Medical Provider
If you notice any serious adverse effects while taking Valtrex, seek medical advice immediately. You should also see a medical provider if:
- You have frequent cold sore outbreaks
- The cold sores dont heal within ten days of taking Valtrex
- There are sores in your mouth, or you have swollen gums
- You have a weakened immune system
- You think your cold sores might be something else
- You have questions concerning your medication
Dangers To Children And Babies
Cold sores can be fatal to newborn babies and dangerous for older babies or children.
Do not kiss babies if you have a cold sore. It can lead to neonatal herpes.
In rare situations, cold sores can cause complications for older babies and children. The most serious of these is encephalitis, when the virus causes an inflammation of the brain.
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Acyclovir is used to decrease pain and speed the healing of sores or blisters in people who have varicella , herpes zoster , and first-time or repeat outbreaks of genital herpes . Acyclovir is also sometimes used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes in people who are infected with the virus. Acyclovir is in a class of antiviral medications called synthetic nucleoside analogues. It works by stopping the spread of the herpes virus in the body. Acyclovir will not cure genital herpes and may not stop the spread of genital herpes to other people.
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A Pharmacist Can Help With Cold Sores
A pharmacist can recommend:
- creams to ease pain and irritation
- antiviral creams to speed up healing time
- cold sore patches to protect the skin while it heals
You can buy electronic devices from pharmacies that treat cold sores with light or lasers.
Some people find these helpful, but there have not been many studies to confirm if they work.
If you regularly get cold sores, use antiviral creams as soon as you recognise the early tingling feeling. They do not always work after blisters appear.
Dosage: How Much Valtrex Should I Take
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form :
- For treatment of chickenpox:
- Adults and children below 2 years of ageUse and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- Children 2 to 18 years of ageDose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, taken three times a day for 5 days. However, the dose is usually not more than 1000 mg three times a day.
- For treatment of cold sores:
- Adults2000 milligrams every 12 hours for one day.
- Children 12 years of age and above2000 milligrams every 12 hours for one day.
- Children below 12 years of ageUse and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For treatment of genital herpes, first outbreak:
- Adults1000 milligrams two times a day for ten days.
- ChildrenUse and dose must be determined by your doctor.
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What Drugs And Food Should I Avoid While Taking Valtrex
Avoid sexual intercourse or use a latex condom to help keep you from spreading the herpes 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 the spread of infection.
Valacyclovir will not prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases other than the virus that causes genital herpes.
Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.
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Valacyclovir: How It Works Dosage And Side Effects
Navin Khosla has been a registered Pharmacist since 1995. He obtained his B.Pharm Degree in Pharmacy from the London School of Pharmacy, University of London in 1994, and has built a wealth of experience by working across the community pharmacy retail sector.
Valacyclovir is a prescription medication used to treat the herpes infections that can cause cold sores and genital herpes. You can buy a generic version of the medication simply called valacyclovir or a branded version called Valtrex. Both work in the same way.If you have genital herpes or are prone to cold sores, valacyclovir is a medication you should know about. Its one of the most effective ways to treat your herpes infection. Sounds good right? Here we explain what valacyclovir is used for, how it works, its possible side effects and more.
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Herpes Drugs Don’t Stop Herpes Shedding
Got Genital Herpes? You’re Still Infectious, Even if Drugs Cut Symptoms
Even when they don’t have an active herpes outbreak, people who carry genital herpes viruses are at risk of infecting their sex partners. With the discovery of drugs that prevent herpes outbreaks, there was hope that the drugs would also prevent herpes transmission. But there’s been troubling evidence that this may not be true.
Now University of Washington researcher Christine Johnston, MD, and colleagues show that people with no herpes symptoms often shed infectious genital herpes virus — even while taking very high doses of anti-herpes drugs.
“Short episodes of genital shedding occur frequently with antiviral therapy, even for high-dose regimens,” Johnston and colleagues report. “These breakthrough episodes are typically , last several hours, and occur at much the same rate irrespective of antiviral dose.”
One in 5 Americans and Europeans carries HSV-2, the virus that causes most cases of genital herpes HSV-1 causes some cases. Most people have few, if any, of genital herpes’ painful symptoms: blisters on or around the genitals or rectum.
There’s no cure for herpes infections. That’s because herpes viruses travel up nerves to take up latent form in the nerve root. Powerful anti-herpes drugs — acyclovir , famciclovir , and valacyclovir — prevent most outbreaks in most people. But they don’t eliminate virus hiding in nerve cells.
Types Of Antiviral Drugs
There are three oral antivirals recommended for the treatment of oral or genital herpes:
|Famvir, 250 mg
Preventing genital herpes recurrence is important as it reduces the risk of HIV. According to the CDC, having an active genital herpes infection increases the risk of HIV by 200% to 300%.
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How To Take Aciclovir Tablets
The dosage and duration you need to take oral aciclovir will depend on:
- Whether you have any other conditions
- Other medication you are taking
- Your reaction to the first dose of treatment
Below are some general aciclovir dosage guidelines for genital herpes. Always take medication as directed by your doctor or pharmacist:
- The first episode of genital herpes: Take 200 mg of aciclovir five times a day or 400 mg three times a day for 5 days
- Further outbreaks of genital herpes: Take 800 mg of aciclovir three times a day for 2 days, or 200 mg of aciclovir five times a day for 5 days, or 400 mg of aciclovir three times a day for 3â5 days
- Suppressive therapy: Take 400 mg of aciclovir twice a day, or 200 mg four times a day, increasing to 400 mg three times a day. A doctor will reassess treatment every 6â12 months to check whether there is a reduction in outbreaks
You should swallow one tablet with water at the intervals your doctor or pharmacist prescribes. You must not skip doses and should complete the treatment course, even if you start to feel better.
If you forget to take a dose of aciclovir, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is nearly time to take the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue taking the next dose.
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Myth #: You Cant Get Herpes If Youre Not Sexually Active
Herpes can be passed from skin-to-skin contact that isnât sexual in nature, Hawkins tells me. âIf you look at the leotards that wrestlers wear, if you have upper thigh genital herpes in an area thats low enough that it shows under the leotard, someone can get it, too,â Hawkins tells me.
With that said, Hawkins tells me you donât need to worry about getting it from trying on a swimsuit or sharing a towel, because the virus doesnât live outside of the body for long. âNow if youre trying on bathing suits without any underwear underneath, there are plenty of wonderful infections that you can get even if herpes is not one of them,â she says. âPeople are still strongly advised to make sure theyre using proper hygienic options.â
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What Are The Causes Of Herpes Infection
The various causes of herpes infection are:
- Herpes infection spreads from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact and is highly contagious.
- Touching or kissing is the main cause of HSV 1 transmission, whereas, sexual contact is the main cause of HSV 2 transmission.
- If a healthy person shares personal items like toothbrushes, utensils, spoons, etc. with an infected person, then he/she may also get infected.
- Herpes infection can also spread through the eyes.
- This infection can spread by touching the mouth sores of an infected person.
- Having sex without protection can lead to herpes infection of the genitals.
How Does Valtrex Work
Valtrex belongs to a class of drugs called nucleoside analogs that mimic one of the building blocks of DNA. It stops the spread of herpes virus in the body by preventing the replication of viral DNA that is necessary for viruses to multiply. Other drugs in the same class include acyclovir and famciclovir . Valacyclovir is actually a âprodrug,â in that it is not active itself. Rather, it is converted to acyclovirin the body, and it is the acyclovir that is active against the viruses. Valacyclovir, therefore, is active against the same viruses as acyclovir, but valacyclovir has a longer duration of action than acyclovir, and, therefore, can be taken fewer times each day.
The FDA approved valacyclovir in 1995.
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Some Important Facts Affecting The Risk Of Herpes Transmission
- Herpes is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact
- The first outbreak is the most contagious
- There is a greater statistical chance of passing herpes when youâve been recently diagnosed whether you have symptoms or not
- Herpes infects skin areas that are thin and moist because itâs easier for the virus to penetrate those areas. For that reason, females are three times more likely to be infected than males
- Younger people having casual sex are more likely to contract herpes
- HSV-1 in the genital area recurs less often than HSV-2
- Being positive for HSV-2 gives some protection against getting HSV-1. The opposite is not true
- If a person with one type of herpes acquires a different type, the flare-up symptoms are milder
- Sex toys should not be shared. But if they are shared, they should be cleaned with water and soap before being used
What Makes Valtrex Unique
In addition to Valtrex, there are 2 other antiviral medications that are used for cold sores: acyclovir and famciclovir . All 3 have been shown to be more effective at treating cold sores than OTC creams or ointments, says Beth Bryan, PharmD. Shes a pharmacist and the owner of Surgoinsville Pharmacy in Surgoinsville, Tennessee.
That said, Valtrex is often the first choice because it has better bioavailability, says Daniel Breisch, PharmD. Hes a pharmacist at Mountain View Pharmacy in Bountiful, Utah. That means you can take less of the drug and have superior outcomes, he says.
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Home Remedies For Herpes
In addition to taking medication, many people treat their herpes virus infections with natural and home remedies. Natural remedies shouldnt be a substitute for antiviral drugs, but many people find that they help heal painful sores and blisters.
Here are some natural and home remedies that could possibly help your herpes virus infection:
- Drinking echinacea tea. Echinacea is an herb. Echinacea tea can boost the immune system, helping the body fight off virus outbreaks that manifest as cold sores, shingles, genital herpes, or chickenpox.
- Using hydrogen peroxide for cold sores. Hydrogen peroxide can clean cold sores and help them heal faster because of its antiseptic properties.
- Eating foods rich in L-lysine. Some studies suggest that the amino acid L-lysine can help keep the herpes virus from replicating. Taking a lysine supplement or eating foods that contain L-lysine like vegetables, legumes, and fish can help keep your herpes virus infection from worsening.
- Applying cool compresses. For genital herpes, applying a cool compress to the affected area can help alleviate pain and itching that come from sores and blisters.
The best way to learn more about possible alternatives to Valtrex is to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider. Theres no one size fits all medication or treatment plan thats best for everyone.
Extemporaneous Preparation Of Oral Suspension
Ingredients and Preparation per USPNF
VALTREX tablets 500 mg, cherry flavor, and Suspension Structured Vehicle USP-NF . Valacyclovir oral suspension should be prepared in lots of 100 mL.
Instructions for Preparing Suspension at Time of Dispensing
- Transfer the suspension to an amber glass medicine bottle with a child-resistant closure.
- The prepared suspension should be labeled with the following information Shake well before using. Store suspension between 2°C to 8°C in a refrigerator. Discard after 28 days.
*The amount of cherry flavor added is as instructed by the suppliers of the cherry flavor.
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How K Health Can Help
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Herpes And Newborn Infants
Herpes infection in a newborn can cause a range of symptoms, including skin rash, fevers, mouth sores, and eye infections. If left untreated, neonatal herpes is a very serious and even life-threatening condition. Neonatal herpes can spread to the brain and central nervous system, causing encephalitis and meningitis. It also can lead to intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, and death. Herpes can also spread to internal organs, such as the liver and lungs.
Infants infected with herpes are treated with acyclovir, an antiviral drug. They usually receive several weeks of intravenous acyclovir treatment, often followed by several months of oral acyclovir. It is important to treat babies quickly, before the infection spreads to the brain and other organs.
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Are There Alternatives To Valtrex
There is no over-the-counter version of Valtrex, but some people take the generic version of Valtrex, valacyclovir. Valtrex isnt the only antiviral medication that can treat herpes virus and varicella zoster virus infections. If someone is allergic to Valtrex or has an underlying medical condition that prevents him or her from taking it, a doctor may recommend another antiviral.
Here are some alternative medications to Valtrex:
- Acyclovir is a generic medication used to treat herpes simplex and varicella zoster viruses. Its available in generic form or under the brand name Zovirax. It treats the same conditions as Valtrex, but its bioavailability is lower, which means that lower concentrations of it are absorbed by the body. Learn more about the difference between acyclovir and Valtrex here.
- Famciclovir is a generic medication typically used to treat varicella zoster virus infections like shingles. Also known under the brand name Famvir, famciclovir is a good alternative to Valtrex for people with compromised immune systems.
What Medications Are Similar
There are several antiviral medications that are similar to Valtrex but do not have identical approved indications. These include:
- Sitavig and Zovirax : This medication is available as a tablet or a liquid to be swallowed. It is also available in an injectable form to be used for severe HSV infections, including HSV encephalitis . It is also available as a cream for the treatment of cold sores.
- Famvir : This is available as a tablet for the treatment of cold sores, genital herpes, and shingles.
Many other antiviral medications are used for treating different infections. For example, Epivir and Viread are used to treat HIV. Baraclude is used to treat hepatitis B.
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Treating Cold Sores With Valtrex
Cold sores typically start to heal on their own within about four to six days. Although, the first cold sore you get will likely last longer.
Most people dont require treatment for their cold sores, but, in some cases, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication such as Valtrex. This may be because you get cold sores often or if youre at high risk of serious complications, such as from a weakened immune system.
To treat a cold sore, you take Valtrex on the day you notice a cold sore forming. Valtrex works by preventing the herpes virus from growing and spreading.
Your doctor may also prescribe Valtrex to help prevent future cold sores, which is an off-label use. In that case, you and your doctor would work together to create the best treatment plan for you.
Valtrex is an oral caplet. It comes in 500-milligram and 1-gram strengths. Its available as a brand-name product as well as a generic medication . The generic product is an oral tablet which comes in the same strengths.
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