) 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
- 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
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
- 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
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.
Active ingredient: valaciclovir, also spelled
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