) is a widely-used antiviral treatment. Though usually given to treat or suppress herpes outbreaks, it has numerous other applications in combating similar viruses:
- Herpes simplex virus type I
- Herpes simplex virus type II
- Herpes labialis (chicken pox)
- Varicella zoster virus (shingles)
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Cytomegalovirus (after an organ transplant)
Herpes is a remarkably widespread infection, caused by two related viruses, herpes simplex type I & II. Both types can cause oral or genital herpes, with classic symptoms developing around the mouth and genitals.
Herpes zoster, or shingles, though related to the herpes simplex virus, is in fact a distinct variety of herpes. Valtrex Stops Viral Outbreaks:
Valtrex impedes the ability of the virus to reproduce and flourish by interacting with an enzyme the virus depends on to infect new cells. Simply put, Valtrex suppresses the virus so the body can overcome the outbreak faster. This mechanism delivers multiple benefits for patients:
- Less severe symptoms during outbreaks
- Shorter duration of outbreaks
- Reduced frequency of outbreaks
- Prevention of outbreaks
- Reduced chance of spreading the virus
Treatment with this medication may not prevent all outbreaks all of the time, but will significantly reduce the frequency with which they happen. Outbreaks that do occur will be shorter and symptoms will not be as apparent or troublesome.
Herpes is highly contagious. In the vast majority of cases it's transmitted by contact with mucus membranes or genitals. Taking Valtrex helps inhibit the ease with which the virus is spread to others, but it is not a guarantee the virus will not be transmitted. Safe sex should always be practiced. Making the Most of Valtrex:
Regardless of the ailment being treated, there are a few things all Valtrex users should be aware of to make treatment as hassle-free as possible:
- For shingles and herpes outbreaks, treatment should begin as soon as possible after symptoms are noticed.
- If nausea occurs after taking a tablet, eating a light snack or meal may help.
- It's easy to become dehydrated while taking Valtrex; drink plenty of liquids.
- Some patients become very sensitive to sunlight during treatment and may need to use protection when outdoors.
- It's important to complete treatment even if symptoms improve or disappear. Discontinuing treatment too soon contributes to virus resistance.
Valtrex is typically taken once a day, though higher dosages may be split into two doses; for example 500 mg in the morning and 500 mg in the evening for a total of 1000 mg a day. This may help if stomach upset occurs after taking large doses. Side Effects and Warnings:
Side effects are fairly rare when the medication is used properly:
- Headaches, nausea, fatigue and dizziness are the most frequently reported reactions.
- The effects of Valtrex on unborn babies is unknown; use during pregnancy only if the benefits outweigh the risks. It should not be used while breast feeding.
- Valtrex may trigger liver inflammation in patients with a history of liver problems.
- Patients with a history of kidney problems should talk to a doctor about risks.
- A rash or swelling of lips, eyes, tongue or throat indicate an allergic reaction and call for immediate medical attention.
Some other drugs are known to interact with Valtrex, making treatment less effective. A pharmacist or doctor can point out potentially conflicting medications.
Patients who are allergic to any of the ingredients in Valtrex should speak with a doctor about alternative treatments. Ingredients:
Active ingredient: valaciclovir, also spelled valacyclovir
Inactive ingredients: titanium dioxide, colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, polysorbate 80, carnauba wax, povidone, FD&C Blue No. 2 Lake, microcrystalline cellulose, crospovidone, polyethylene glycol, hypromellose