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.
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.
Who Might Get Herpes Simplex
People of any age can contract herpes simplex. You are more likely to get the virus if you:
- Were assigned female at birth.
- Have had multiple sex partners.
- Started having sex at a young age.
- Have a history of any sexually transmitted infection .
- Have a weakened immune system.
- Dont use condoms for intercourse and dental dams for oral sex.
Who gets HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes?
Anyone can get HSV-1. Most people contract HSV-1 during childhood. It spreads when an adult who has the virus has close contact with a child, such as when a family member kisses a child.
Who gets HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes?
Genital herpes affects sexually active teens and adults of all genders and races. It can spread if you have multiple sexual partners and dont use condoms or dental dams.
People assigned female at birth are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black people who were AFAB are especially vulnerable, with an estimated 1 in 2 people AFAB between the ages of 14 and 49 infected with HSV-2.
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Stds That Are Less Likely To Spread Through Kissing
Syphilis: This is a bacterial infection that can be spread by having sex. It isnt usually spread by kissing unless you and your partner both have syphilis sores present in your mouth when you kiss.
Herpes simplex virus 2 : This is a virus that spreads easily in body fluids. HSV-2 can cause painful blisters in your genital area, but it rarely affects your mouth. This means its less likely than HSV-1 to spread through kissing.
What Is In This Leaflet
This leaflet answers some common questions about Valtrex tablets. It does not contain all of the available information.
It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking Valtrex tablets against the benefits this medicine is expected to have for you.
If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep this leaflet with the medicine. You may need to read it again.
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Treatment Vs Preventative Vaccines
The biggest difference between treatment and preventative vaccines is which groups of people they would benefit. Treatment vaccines are intended for people who have been infected with HSV, boosting the immune system to fight the virus. They would help improve symptoms, help blisters heal faster, and lower the risk of spreading the virus to other people.
The second type of vaccine a preventative vaccine is the most common type of vaccine we get as children and adults, helping to train our immune system against a germ before we encounter it. In other words, a preventative HSV vaccine would prevent you from being infected with HSV. The and the are examples of preventative herpes vaccines currently available, but they will not prevent HSV-1 and HSV-2.
How Effective Is It
Studies show that valacyclovir can speed healing of a herpes outbreak, reduce the incidence of recurrent herpes, and can lower your risk of transmitting herpes to your partner .
Valacyclovir has a suppressive effectnot only reduces the number of recurrent outbreaks a person experiences when using the medication every day, it reduces the number of days that someone sheds the virus asymptomatically. That can result in fewer uninfected partners contracting herpes infections. If a condom is worn during sexual activity and the medication used, the chances are reduced at least by half compared with using a condom alone.
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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
- 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.
Using Valacyclovir To Treat A Primary Outbreak Of Cold Sores
Valacyclovir is also used to treat primary outbreaks of cold sores, or oral herpes. The standard dosage of valacyclovir for managing a primary oral herpes outbreak is 2,000 mg every 12 hours for one day .
During a particularly severe or persistent outbreak, your doctor may recommend adjusting your valacyclovir dose or extending the dosage to provide greater relief. Follow your doctors advice and instructions for the best results from valacyclovir and other antiviral medication.
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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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Can You Take Other Medications With Valtrex
- If you are taking any other medications, inform your doctor. Theyll be able to assess whether the two different meds are compatible.
- If you have other health-related issues, ask your physician if Valtrex could potentially be harmful to you.
- If you are undergoing chemotherapy, antibiotic injections or medications for transplants, you must inform your doctor.
- The long-term use of Valtrex may cause Kidney damage.
- This medication should only be used at the time of a cold sore outbreak.
If you still have questions about Valtrex, ask your local pharmacist for help. Never share this medication with another person who also has cold sores. Some people experience allergic reactions and seizures to certain medications. We all respond differently to medicines.
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What Is Herpes Simplex Virus
HSV is a virus that can cause painful ulcers in your mouth or on your genitals. There are two main herpes simplex viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 infections most commonly affect your mouth, but they may also result in sores on your genitals. HSV-2, on the other hand, primarily affects your genitals. In the U.S., over 50% of adults have HSV-1, and 15% of sexually active people have HSV-2.
Once youve been infected with HSV, the virus stays in your body long term, causing sores or blisters to appear periodically . In rare cases, it can cause life-threatening infections like meningitis and encephalitis.
When you think of herpesviruses, HSV is likely what comes to mind. But both types of HSV are actually part of a larger family of herpesviruses, including:
Whats Genital Herpes And Whos At Risk
There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Herpes which occurs around the mouth and on the lips is usually, but not always, caused by HSV-1. Around 70-80% of the population carry HSV-1 inside their bodies, but only about one third of carriers will ever experience an oral herpes outbreak.
HSV-2, on the other hand, is most often associated with genital herpes. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in genital herpes caused by HSV-1, which can spread through oral sex. The scientific consensus holds that around 15% of U.S. adults have genital herpes, but within these 15%, only about 10-20% of carriers will experience a genital herpes outbreak . In fact, most people with genital herpes arent even aware that they have it.
Order safe and effective treatment for genital herpes
Whether an HSV carrier experiences a herpes outbreak in large part depends on the immune system. The stronger it is, the less the likelihood of experiencing an outbreak. Conversely, sickness or certain drugs or chemotherapy agents, can weaken the immune system and give the herpes virus the opportunity to replicate.
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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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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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Serious Side Effects Of Valtrex
Although its rare, Valtrex can cause more serious side effects that may require medical attention, including:
- Low blood cell counts
- Painful periods for women
If youre taking Valtrex and have any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor for medical advice as soon as possible.
If you have any signs of an allergic reaction like difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling of the face, mouth, or throat, you should seek immediate emergency medical treatment.
Other serious side effects that could potentially occur when taking Valtrex include:
- Inflammation of the liver
- Kidney failure
- A serious blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome
Some patients are more susceptible to these serious side effects than others. Consult your healthcare provider to find out if youre at risk.
These side effects are very rare. Antiviral medicines are effective at treating viral infections, but after long-term use, they can eventually weaken the immune system by affecting immune cells. This is typically only an issue for seniors and people with weakened immune systems. Even though its not typically taken for long periods of time, if your doctor does want you to take it long term, then thats okay. Some studies have even shown that the long-term use of Valtrex is well-tolerated for healthy individuals.
Is It Safe To Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes
Yes as long as there isnt an open lesion on your chest or breast. If you have an active outbreak while breastfeeding, its possible to spread the infection to your nipples through touch. Careful hand-washing can prevent this spread. You shouldnt nurse from a breast that has herpes sores. You can pump breast milk until the sores heal. Dont give your baby expressed breast milk if the pump comes into contact with an open sore.
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Can Valacyclovir Stop Genital Herpes From Spreading
Valacyclovir is an oft-prescribed treatment for both oral and genital herpes. It can also treats chickenpox, which is another herpes virus strain. Valacyclovir, when prescribed to prevent herpes outbreaks or lower their frequency, also reduces the rate of transmission.
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 odds improvement. Studies have found that daily valacyclovir therapy for the duration of one year did not cause any significant adverse health effects. If you suffer from recurring genital herpes outbreaks, talk to your doctor about whether valacyclovir may be right for you.
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. 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.
If you know that you have genital herpes , you need to take extra care in order to prevent the virus spreading to your partner. Be frank and tell your partner, practice safer sex, and avoid sex completely when you notice signs of an outbreak, however mild.
Can Valacyclovir Help Prevent Herpes Transmission
Valacyclovir , is an antiviral drug used to treat herpes. It is a prodrug, which means it is activated inside the body. Once activated, it inhibits viral DNA replication by the herpes simplex virus. It has been clinically proven to reduce the number of days and outbreaks of herpes.
However it can only help to prevent transmission if used daily. It is important to note that this drug does not cure herpes. It helps prevent outbreaks , and it helps to prevent transmission of the virus to others. It is also important to note that as with any medication, side effects have been associated with valtrex.
So can Valtrex protect you or your partner from transmitting genital herpes? As we know, the virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact, and that even if you have no symptoms, you can still spread the disease to your partner if you are infected. Read on to find out more.
What is Valtrex?
Valtrex is a treatment for herpes, a highly contagious infection. Herpes is an infection by the herpes simplex virus, HSV. There are two types of HSV: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Most infections are caused by HSV-2, which most often causes genital herpes. HSV-1 typically causes infections above the waist .
Valtrex works by inhibiting the DNA replication of HSV. It also helps reduce the duration and severity of outbreaks. Valtrex can also be used to treat chickenpox.
What’s the Likelihood of Spreading Herpes While Taking Valtrex?
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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.
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