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.
Is Acyclovir Or Valacyclovir Better
Acyclovir and valacyclovir are both effective treatments for viral infections arising from the herpes simplex and varicella-zoster virus strains. The most clinically significant difference between them may be seen when treating shingles, as valacyclovir leads to a shorter duration of pain and fewer complications related to the eyes. An important consideration when choosing between the two treatments is that valacyclovir is dosed fewer times per day than acyclovir which decreases the pill burden for patients and may be easier to manage and remain compliant to treatment regimens.
Conditions Treated By Acyclovir And Valacyclovirt
Acyclovir and valacyclovir are indicated in the treatment of herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2, as well as varicella-zoster virus. The most common of these types of viruses are cold sores, genital herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. These drugs also play an important role in the prophylaxis of these types of infections, such as recurrent genital herpes.
Acyclovir and valacyclovir are used off-label for the prevention of cytomegalovirus and treatment of ocular infections related to shingles. Off-label use refers to use for treatment in an indication not approved by the Food and Drug Administration .
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What Are Acyclovir And Valacyclovir
When you suffer a herpes outbreak your doctor may prescribe oral medications such as acyclovir and valacyclovir.
The drugs work in a similar way by preventing HSV from replicating and spreading to control a herpes outbreak and help heal symptoms faster. They are effective against HSV-1, HSV-2 and herpes zoster.
Both acyclovir and valacyclovir can be used for the immediate treatment of HSV outbreaks or long-term suppression therapy. Suppression therapy benefits patients who have frequent recurrences of herpes.
In addition, studies have shown that both drugs lower the risk of orally or sexually spreading the herpes simplex virus to others.
What Are Cold Sores Chickenpox Shingles And Genital Herpes
Cold sores are caused by a herpes virus that may be spread by kissing or other physical contact with the infected area of the skin. They are small, painful ulcers that you get in or around your mouth. It is not known if valacyclovir tablets can stop the spread of cold sores to others.
Chickenpox is caused by a herpes virus called Varicella Zoster Virus . It causes an itchy rash of multiple small, red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites usually appearing first on the abdomen or back and face. It can spread to almost everywhere else on the body and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms.
Shingles is caused by the same herpes virus that causes chickenpox. It causes small, painful blisters to appear on your skin. Shingles occurs in people who have already had chickenpox. Shingles can be spread to people who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine by contact with the infected areas of the skin. It is not known if valacyclovir tablets can stop the spread of shingles to others.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. It causes small, painful blisters on your genital area. You can spread genital herpes to others, even when you have no symptoms. If you are sexually active, you can still pass herpes to your partner, even if you are taking valacyclovir tablets. Valacyclovir tablets, taken every day as prescribed and used with the following safer sex practices, can lower the chances of passing genital herpes to your partner.
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Interactions With Other Drugs
Drug interactions happen when two or more drugs combine in the body and to create unintended effects or symptoms. Interactions can range from mild to severe and dangerous. See the chart below for some examples.
Valacyclovir can interact with over 60 different drugs, which is why it’s important to let your physician know about any medications you’re taking. For example, valacyclovir can cause serious negative interactions with several medications used to treat HIV, including:
Be sure to tell your physician if you have HIV and if you’re taking medications or taking treatment to control it.
Valacyclovir can also be dangerous when taken in combination with a class of drugs called aminoglycoside antibiotics. This includes drugs such as:
Aminoglycosides along with certain other antibiotics, like bacitracin and valacyclovir can potentially cause kidney damage, and this risk increases when the drugs are taken together.
This is not a full list of possible drug interactions. If you’re using any other medications, consult a more complete list of possible interactions and speak with your doctor and pharmacist for more information.
What Should I Avoid While Taking Valacyclovir
It is important to avoid other drugs which have the potential for nephrotoxicity when taking valacyclovir. This includes other antivirals such as adefovir, cidofovir, and tenofovir as well as aminoglycoside antibiotics. Live vaccines against viruses like varicella and zoster should not be given while a patient is being treated with valacyclovir.
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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.
How Do Prescription Discount Cards Work
Prescription discount cards allow you to compare prescription prices to obtain up to 80% or more off the average retail price of your medication. If your insurance does not pay for your medicine or the price is too high, you can use a prescription discount card instead of your insurance. Download the mobile app today to get the most from your free RX savings card.
Rosanna Sutherby is a freelance medical writer who has been a practicing pharmacist in her community for close to 20 years. She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She utilizes her clinical training in the pharmacy, where she helps patients manage disease states such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and many others. Dr. Sutherby reviews and recommends drug regimens based on patients concurrent conditions and potential drug interactions.
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Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Valtrex
If you take too much Valtrex, it can lead to acute kidney damage. This is a medical emergency that can cause toxicity in your body and the inability to make urine.
Hemodialysis is a procedure that helps your body eliminate toxins and balance fluidthis may be necessary until your kidney function is restored.
What Side Effects Are Possible With This Medication
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- abdominal pain
- increased sensitivity to UV light
- skin rash
Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- behaviour changes
- pain in the side between the ribs and hip or kidney area of the back
- signs of anemia caused by red blood cell destruction
- signs of bleeding
- signs of decreased kidney function
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction
- signs of a severe skin reaction
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Warnings Of Acyclovir And Valacyclovir
Both acyclovir and valacyclovir are contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitivity to either drug. Cautions should also be used if a patient has had a previous reaction to famciclovir, ganciclovir, penciclovir, or valganciclovir as there is a chance for cross-sensitivity between these drugs.
Acyclovir and valacyclovir should also be used cautiously in patients with renal dysfunction. Dose adjustments may be necessary to avoid central nervous system toxicity. Signs of CNS toxicity include agitations, hallucinations, confusion, and delirium. These are more likely in the elderly population. Good hydration is necessary to avoid precipitation of the drugs in the tubules of the kidneys.
Who Should Not Take Acyclovir
The conditions like reduced kidney function and dehydration are contraindicated with acyclovir drug. It is important to check with your doctor before taking this drug if you have any of these conditions. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also check with their general practitioners before taking acyclovir. Acyclovir should not be given to children who are less than 2 years of age. Anyone having allergy to milk proteins also should not take acyclovir buccal tablets
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Antivirals Zovirax Vs Valtrex
Antivirals are medications designed to fight viruses. Most antivirals target specific viruses. The antivirals acyclovir and valacyclovir are used to treat or prevent infections caused by the herpes simplex, herpes zoster, and varicella-zoster viruses.
Although both drugs target the same viruses, there are a few differences between them. Read on for a comparison of the two drugs.
What Is Valtrex What Is Zovirax
Valtrex is a type of antiviral drug called a nucleoside analog used to treat infections with shingles , genital herpes , and cold sores . Nucleoside analogs mimic one of the building blocks of DNA and they stop the spread of the herpes virus by preventing the viral DNA replication that is necessary for viruses to multiply. Acyclovir and famciclovir are also nucleoside analogs. Valacyclovir is called a “prodrug,” in that it is not active itself but rather, it is converted to acyclovir in the body, and it is the acyclovir that is active against the viruses. Valtrex thus is active against the same viruses as acyclovir, but Valtrex has a longer duration of action than acyclovir and can be taken fewer times each day.
Zovirax is an antiviral drug, a synthetic nucleoside analogue, that has inhibitory activity against the herpes viruses, including herpes simplex 1 and 2 , varicella-zoster , and Epstein-Barr virus . Viruses take over living cells and reproduce themselves, often at the expense of the host cell. Zovirax is converted to an active form by the virus itself, and the virus then uses the active form of acyclovir rather than the nucleoside it normally uses to manufacture DNA, a critical component of viral replication. Incorporation of active acyclovir into new viral DNA stops the production of the DNA. Virally infected cells absorb more Zovirax than normal cells and convert more of it to the active form, which prolongs its antiviral activity.
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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.
Analysis Of Herpes Virus Antivirals
The consumption of antivirals against herpes viruses is in a good agreement with the data presented in Fig. 3. This figure shows a number of published articles focused on chromatography-based bioanalytical methods for the analysis of particular herpes virus antivirals in the period 20002017. The name of antiviral agent and the word chromatography were used as the keywords in the search in the Web of Science database. Subsequent filtration of results based on relevance led to Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. The number of papers published in the period 20002017 with the focus on chromatographic bioanalytical methods for individual currently used antivirals against herpes viruses. The pairs of drugs and their prodrug forms are shown with the same color of two different shades and are marked with rectangle in graphical presentation legend. Data obtained from WOS in April 2017.
Table 2. Physicochemical properties of currently used antivirals against herpes viruses .
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How Do You Take Acyclovir And Valacyclovir
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.
How Valacyclovir Works
Valacyclovir works through a complex chemical process that interferes with the mechanism the herpes virus uses to reproduce, preventing it from multiplying and reducing the rate at which the infection spreads.
In short, valacyclovir stops the herpes virus from spreading to healthy cells, reducing the effects of the virus.
Its important to know that valacyclovir doesnt cure herpes. However, it does make the effects of herpes less severe, meaning the sores developed from the virus heal faster and the aches, cold symptoms and other signs of herpes can become less severe.
If you have herpes, valacyclovir reduces the risk of you transmitting the virus to other people. In one study, researchers found that people with HSV-2 using valacyclovir were almost 50 percent less likely to transfer the virus to their sexual partners than people with HSV-2 that didnt use medication.
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About The Herpes Virus
There are two types of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2.
HSV-1 is the cause of most cold sores, while HSV-2 is involved in most cases of genital herpes. However, both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause herpes infections in either location.
A person can contract an HSV-1 infection through oral-to-oral contact such as kissing. It is also possible to pass on the HSV-1 virus through oral-to-genital contact, which results in genital herpes. People are more contagious when they have a flare-up of the virus and have active sores.
People usually get the HSV-2 virus through sexual contact and can pass on an HSV-2 infection even if they do not have obvious symptoms. Condoms can reduce the risk of passing on genital herpes, but this is not guaranteed.
Another form of herpes virus is called the herpes zoster virus, which is more commonly known as shingles. The varicella-zoster virus , which is also known as chickenpox, lays dormant in the body after the initial infection. In some people, the virus may reactivate as shingles .
A person can only become infected with shingles if they have previously had chickenpox. However, someone who has never had chickenpox can become infected with the virus through someone with shingles if they have direct contact with open sores.
- joint pain
- low blood cell counts
In some cases, individuals may experience severe side effects such as kidney failure and nervous system problems.