Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Valtrex Treatment For Oral Herpes

What Makes Valtrex Unique

Herpetic Whitlow herpes on finger

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.

When Can You Expect Relief With Valtrex

Ah, the answer youve been waiting for. In healthy people, cold sores tend to take about 1 to 2 weeks to clear up on their own, according to the Cleveland Clinic. That might sound like a short amount of time, but 2 weeks with a large, painful sore on your lip can feel much longer.

Valtrex can reduce that time frame significantly. Patients can feel relief in as little as a few days, says Breisch. In some people, it may take up to 10 days for symptoms to resolve, but it all depends on how fast you recognize the outbreak and get started on the medication.

Bryan adds that some people can get relief in just 24 hours. And for those with frequent outbreaks, the medication may be used for maintenance therapy. That means it can be used for prevention, so you stop flare-ups before they occur.

If you tend to have cold sores often, a good strategy is to discuss Valtrex with your doctor before you need it. That way, you can have it on hand and begin taking it at the very first sign of an issue.

Next time you fill a prescription, show your pharmacist this free medication discount card. You could save up to 80%.

Background on cold sores: Cleveland Clinic

Cold Sore Home Remedies And Treatments

Abreva is an over-the-counter ointment for cold sores that may shorten healing time. At the first sign of cold sore symptoms such as tingling apply it to the affected area as the package directions indicate.

To relieve cold sore pain and discomfort, you can also try these strategies:

  • Apply lip balm or moisturizer. Use a lip balm, or moisturizer with sunscreen , on your lips. Keeping wounds moist no matter where they are on the body is one of the best ways to speed healing. Thats especially important with cold sores making sure your lips arent too dry will prevent you from reinjuring the area when you smile, eat or drink.
  • Try pain-relieving creams. Over-the-counter creams or ointments that contain lidocaine or benzocaine may relieve the pain of cold sores. A popular brand is Orajel, although generic equivalents are available.
  • Use a cold compress. Applying a cool, damp cloth to the affected area can soothe irritation and help remove crusting.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease discomfort.

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How Should This Medicine Be Used

Topical acyclovir comes as a cream and an ointment to apply to the skin. Acyclovir cream is usually applied five times a day for 4 days. Acyclovir cream may be applied at any time during a cold sore outbreak, but it works best when it is applied at the very beginning of a cold sore outbreak, when there is tingling, redness, itching, or a bump but the cold sore has not yet formed. Acyclovir ointment is usually applied six times a day for 7 days. It is best to begin using acyclovir ointment as soon as possible after you experience the first symptoms of infection. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use topical acyclovir exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your symptoms should improve during your treatment with topical acyclovir. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.

Acyclovir cream and ointment are for use only on the skin. Do not let acyclovir cream or ointment get into your eyes, or inside your mouth or nose, and do not swallow the medication.

Acyclovir cream should only be applied to skin where a cold sore has formed or seems likely to form. Do not apply acyclovir cream to any unaffected skin, or to genital herpes sores.

Is Valtrex Effective For Cold Sores

Generic Valtrex For Herpes Cure And Control

Valtrex is effective for treating cold sores in adults and children.

Valtrex has a long duration of action and high bioavailability, meaning it can be taken only a few times and still have strong effects against cold sores.

It starts to work not long after its taken.

Not only does Valtrex clear out the symptoms of cold sores, but people who take it also have lower chances of spreading the virus and infecting others.

Read Also: Home Remedies For Genital Herpes Outbreaks

What Are The Side Effects Of Valtrex

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Valtrex can cause several side effects, most of which are not dangerous. However, some serious side effects can occur.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Valacyclovir Tablets

Kidney failure and nervous system problems are not common, but can be serious in some patients taking valacyclovir tablets. Nervous system problems include aggressive behavior, unsteady movement, shaky movements, confusion, speech problems, hallucinations , seizures and coma.

Kidney failure and nervous system problems have happened in patients who already have kidney disease and in elderly patients whose kidneys do not work well due to age. Always tell your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems before taking valacyclovir tablets.

Common side effects of valacyclovir tablets in adults include headache, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and dizziness. Side effects in HIV-infected adults include headache, tiredness and rash. These side effects usually are mild and do not cause patients to stop taking valacyclovir tablets.

Other less common side effects in adults include painful periods in women, joint pain, depression, low blood cell counts and changes in tests that measure how well the liver and kidneys work. The most common side effect seen in children < 18 years of age was headache.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you develop any side effects that concern you. These are not all the side effects of valacyclovir tablets. For more information ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Also Check: What Is Signs Of Herpes For Females

What Are Cold Sores

Cold sores are small, clustered lumps that appear around the mouth.

Theyre caused by the herpes simplex virus .

There are two strains of HSV: type 1 and type 2 .

Generally, type 1 HSV causes oral herpes, or cold sores, while type 2 causes genital herpes, though each type can cause both.

Herpes is spread through close physical contact like kissing, sexual contact, or sharing an infected persons spoons or towels.

Its possible to be infected with HSV-1 and not show any symptoms, but most people develop cold sores around their lips or inside their mouths at least once.

Questions To Ask A Doctor

Herpes Labialis Cold Sore

A person with kidney issues or kidney failure should ensure their doctor is aware of their situation. People with these conditions may want to ask about possible alternatives to the medication.

People who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding should ask their doctor about any possible risk associated with taking Valtrex.

People living with a suppressed immune system should ask their doctor about other options.

A person should discuss any possible issues with the current medications or supplements they are taking with their doctor.

Feel free to ask the doctor about doses, how to use the medication, and whether the doctor has any special instructions.

Also Check: What Causes Outbreaks In Herpes

How To Use Valtrex

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking valacyclovir and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take valacyclovir by mouth, with or without food, as directed by your doctor. Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication to lower the chance of side effects.

The dosage and length of treatment are based on your type of infection, medical condition, and response to treatment. For treating chickenpox in children, the dosage is also based on weight.

This medication works best when started at the first sign of an outbreak, as directed by your doctor. It may not work as well if you delay treatment. For shingles or chickenpox, start taking valacyclovir at the first symptom or as soon as possible after the rash appears. For cold sores or genital herpes, start taking this medication at the first sign or as soon as you feel tingling, itching, or burning.

Valacyclovir works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.

Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished. Do not change your dose, skip any doses, or stop this medication early without your doctor’s approval.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Valtrex

There are several considerations that you must keep in mind to stay healthy while you are taking Valtrex:

  • Maintain hydration: Valtrex is more likely to cause kidney damage if you are dehydrated.
  • Pain control for shingles: Shingles can cause substantial pain. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a pain-control medication for you as your condition is resolving.
  • Rest and fever control for chicken pox: Chicken pox infection can cause high fevers and sometimes fatigue. If your child has this infection, maintain rest, and follow their providers advice regarding management of fevers.

Herpes viruses are highly contagious, so its important to avoid infecting others while you are recovering.

Tips to avoid the spread of the following infections:

  • Cold sores: Dont share cups, utensils, lipstick, or kiss others while a cold sore is present
  • Genital herpes: Practice safe sex.
  • Chicken pox and shingles: Avoid contact with people who are immunosuppressed , people who are pregnant, and babies until your infection has fully resolved.

Also Check: Can Genital Herpes Appear On Your Mouth

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

Why You Should Trust Us

Pin on Valtrex For Herpes Treatment

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

We extensively test each health service or product we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health options, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate products and services based on their adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it werent part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

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How Should I Take Valtrex

Take Valtrex exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Start taking Valtrex as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms . This medicine might not be as effective if you first start taking it 1 or 2 days after the start of your symptoms.

Some herpes infections need to be treated for longer than others. Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may increase the risk of your virus becoming resistant to antiviral medicine.

You may take Valtrex with or without food.

Tell your doctor if a child taking this medicine cannot swallow the tablet.

Drink plenty of water while you are taking Valtrex to keep your kidneys working properly.

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.

Store Valtrex tablets at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

How Much Valacyclovir Should You Take For A Recurrent Genital Herpes Outbreak

After the primary outbreak, genital herpes enters a latent stage. During this period, the virus lays dormant in the body , with no clear symptoms or signs of an infection.

Over time, many people with genital herpes will experience recurrent outbreaks of the virus that cause herpes sores to develop. Outbreaks affect people with HSV-1 and HSV-2, although they tend to be more common in people with the HSV-2 type of the herpes virus.

Recurrent outbreaks are usually less intense than the initial outbreak. Most people only notice the development of herpes sores on the genitals, with few or none of the flu-like symptoms that can make a primary outbreak so unpleasant.

During a recurring outbreak, you normally wont need to take as much as you did for the primary outbreak. A standard valacyclovir dosage for recurrent genital herpes outbreaks is 500 mg twice per day for three days.

If you have particularly severe genital herpes outbreaks or the herpes sores you develop during an outbreak take longer than normal to recover, your doctor may adjust your dosage to provide extra relief from symptoms and faster healing. In any case, follow your doctors instructions.

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Valacyclovir Dosage For Genital Herpes

If you have genital herpes, youll understand how stressful an outbreak can be. People infected with genital herpes can experience four to five outbreaks of the virus per year, making it vital to have medication like valacyclovir on hand in the event you notice herpes lesions developing.

Like oral herpes, valacyclovir is highly effective at treating genital herpes and speeding up the healing process.

Genital herpes occurs in two phases. After being infected with the virus, most people will have an initial outbreak — a powerful outbreak of the virus that can result in severe symptoms. After this, genital herpes presents itself in recurring outbreaks every few months.

The typical dose of valacyclovir used to treat an initial outbreak of genital herpes is 1,000 mg taken two times per day. This twice-daily 1,000 mg dosage usually continues over 10 days as the herpes outbreak retreats and the lesions close, scab and heal.

During a very severe initial outbreak of genital herpes, your doctor might recommend taking valacyclovir over a longer period.

For recurring genital herpes, the typical dosage of valacyclovir is 500 mg taken twice daily for three days.

As with cold sores, valacyclovir is most effective at treating genital herpes when its taken as early as possible during an outbreak. Taken early, consistently and at the right dose, use of valacyclovir can make dealing with a difficult genital herpes outbreak more manageable.

Cold Sores Vs Canker Sores

I have herpes: Should I Worry?

Its important to know that cold sores are not the same as canker sores.

  • Canker sores are greyish ulcers that only form on the inside of the mouth, on the tongue or on the soft palate. Cold sores appear outside the mouth, taking the form of blisters on the lips or nearby.
  • Canker sores are not caused by a virus or bacteria. Experts arent sure why canker sores erupt, although they tend to surface during times of stress or lowered immunity, or after youve injured your tongue or the inside of your mouth .
  • Canker sores are not contagious they cant be transmitted to another persons lips, mouth or genitals. But cold sores are very contagious.
  • Unlike cold sores, canker sores dont respond to prescription medication. You can relieve pain with some over-the-counter treatments, but as with romantic trauma, the only thing that will heal you is time.

If youre unsure whether you have a cold sore or canker sore, see a health-care provider. Theyll be able to tell you on sight, and they can advise you on strategies to speed healing time, ease discomfort and prevent transmission to others .

Also Check: How Long Does Herpes Virus Last Outside The Body

What Other Information Should I Know

Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Prevention And/or Blocking Of Cold Sores

Increases in the proportion of subjects in whom cold sore lesion development was prevented and/or blocked were observed with both treatment regimens when compared to placebo .4). In study 1, a greater proportion of subjects experienced prevention and/or blockage of cold sore lesions than those in the placebo group, but the treatment differences were not statistically significant at the two-sided 5% level. In study 2, a greater proportion of subjects in both treatment groups experienced prevention and/or blockage of cold sore lesions than those in the placebo group . However, after adjustment for multiple comparisons, neither treatment difference was statistically significant at the 5% level. Figure Figure22 shows the difference in proportion of subjects in whom cold sore lesion development was prevented and/or blocked for the 1- and 2-day valacyclovir treatment regimens in each study.

Plot of the difference in proportion of subjects in whom cold sore lesion development was prevented and/or blocked with 1-day treatment and 2-day treatment from placebo within each study. 95% CI, 95% confidence interval.

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