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Valtrex (valacyclovir) is an antiviral medication which is approved by the FDA to manage various herpes infections, including oral herpes, genital herpes, shingles, and chickenpox. It works by impeding the virus’s ability to multiply, thereby reducing symptoms and the risk of transmission. Treatment effectiveness is maximized when initiated at the earliest symptom onset. Valtrex is available in 500 mg and 1000 mg oral tablets. It’s crucial for patients, especially those with kidney issues or the elderly, to follow prescribed dosages to avoid potential side effects like kidney failure or central nervous system effects.

Product Overview

Valtrex (valacyclovir) serves as a vital antiviral agent for treating infections that are caused by the herpes simplex virus types, such as oral herpes, genital herpes, and herpes zoster (shingles), as well as varicella (chickenpox) in both adults and children. This medication is most effective when administered within 48 hours of the first signs of a rash or outbreak, helping to diminish symptoms and hasten recovery. For genital herpes, it reduces the number of outbreaks and lowers the risk of virus transmission. Available in 500 mg & 1000 mg tablets, Valtrex’s dosing varies based on the infection being treated and patient characteristics, including age and immune status.

For adults, the dosage depends on the specific herpes infection being treated—ranging from an initial high dose during an acute episode to a lower, preventive daily dose for chronic management, including in HIV-infected individuals. In children, the dosage is calculated based on weight, particularly for chickenpox, and starts as early as age 2. Elderly patients may require dosage adjustments to prevent drug accumulation and potential toxicity, primarily due to decreased kidney function. It is essential for patients with kidney issues or those taking other potentially interacting drugs to manage their treatment closely with healthcare providers.

It is important to mitigate risks of severe side effects such as kidney failure or effects on the central nervous system, including confusion and hallucinations. Valtrex is not without side effects; common adverse reactions include stomach pain, headaches, and dizziness. Serious side effects necessitate immediate medical attention. Moreover, specific precautions are advised for pregnant & breastfeeding women due to potential risks to the infant and fetus.

What Are the Uses of Valtrex?

Valtrex (valacyclovir) is an antiviral medication approved to treat infections caused by herpes simplex viruses. It is effective for the following conditions:

  • Oral Herpes: Treats cold sores around the mouth.
  • Genital Herpes: Manages outbreaks and helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
  • Shingles (Herpes Zoster): Eases the pain and helps heal the rash caused by the virus.
  • Chickenpox: Used to treat chickenpox in children and adults.

What Are the Forms & Strengths of Valtrex?

It comes in the form of oral tablets and has 2 strengths:

  • Valtrex 500 mg tablet
  • Valtrex 1000 mg tablet

What Are the Recommended Dosage of Valtrex?

Dosage for Genital Herpes

For Adults (18-64 years):

  • First Episode: Take 1 gram twice per day for 10 days. For best results, start treatment within 48 hours of the first symptom.
  • Recurring Episodes: Take 500 mg twice per day for 3 days. Begin the treatment at the first sign of symptoms.
  • Preventing Flare-Ups (Normal Immune System): Take 500 mg to 1 gram once per day.
  • Preventing Flare-Ups (People with HIV): Take 500 mg twice per day.
  • Reducing Transmission Risk: Take 500 mg once per day to reduce the risk of transmission to a sexual partner.

For Seniors (65 years and older):

  • Adjusted Dosage: Your healthcare provider may prescribe a lower dosage or a different treatment schedule to prevent excessive drug accumulation in your body.
Dosage for Oral Herpes

For Adults (18-64 years):

  • Dosage: Take 2 grams twice on the same day, doses 12 hours apart.
  • Important: Start treatment at the first sign of cold sore symptoms.

For Children (12-17 years):

  • Dosage: Take 2 grams twice on the same day, doses 12 hours apart.
  • Important: Begin medication at the first indication of cold sore symptoms.

For Seniors (65 years and older):

  • Dosage Adjustments: Your healthcare provider may prescribe a lower dosage or a different dosing schedule to prevent excessive drug accumulation in your body.
Dosage for Chickenpox

For Adults (18-64 years):

  • Dosage: Take 1 gram three times per day for 7 days.
  • Important: Start treatment at the first sign of symptoms. This medication is most effective if begun within 48 hours of noticing the initial rash.

For Children (2-18 years):

  • Dosage: Take 20 mg per kilogram of the child’s body weight three times per day for 5 days.
  • Maximum Dosage: Do not exceed 1 gram three times per day.
  • Note: Begin treatment at the earliest sign or symptom of chickenpox.

For Seniors (65 years and older):

  • Adjusted Dosage: Your healthcare provider may prescribe a lower dosage or a different treatment regimen to prevent excessive drug buildup in your body.
Dosage for Shingles

For Adults (18-64 years):

  • Dosage: Take 1 gram three times per day for 7 days.
  • Important: Begin treatment at the first sign of symptoms. This medication is most effective if started within 48 hours of the first appearance of a rash.

For Children (0-17 years):

  • Note: This medication has not been approved for treating shingles in children under 18 years old.

For Seniors (65 years and older):

  • Adjusted Dosage: Your healthcare provider may prescribe a lower dosage or a different treatment schedule to prevent excessive accumulation of the drug in your body.

[Note: Remember, these recommendations may vary from person to person. Discuss it with your doctor, and they’ll customize your dosage accordingly.]

How Should I Take Valtrex? 

By following these guidelines, you can ensure the effectiveness of Valtrex in treating your viral infection and reducing the risk of complications.

  • Follow Prescription Directions: Take Valtrex exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not adjust the dosage or duration without consulting your healthcare provider.
  • Timing: Start taking Valtrex as soon as possible after noticing the first symptoms (such as tingling, burning, or blisters). The medication is most effective when started early. It may not work as well if you begin treatment 1 or 2 days after symptoms start.
  • Duration of Treatment: Some herpes infections require longer treatment periods. Always use the medication for the full prescribed length of time even though you see the symptoms improve before the infection is fully cleared. Skipping doses may lead to the virus becoming resistant to the antiviral treatment.
  • With or Without Food: You can take Valtrex with or without food.
  • Children: If a child cannot swallow the tablet, inform your doctor.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water while taking Valtrex to help your kidneys function properly.
  • Care of Lesions: Keep herpes lesions clean and dry. Wearing loose clothing can help prevent irritation of the affected areas.

[Note: Your doctor will decide the right amount for you based on your condition, following guidelines and studies on the drug. They’ll adjust it as needed over time.]

How Does Valtrex Work?

Valtrex (valacyclovir) is an antiviral medication that belongs to a class of drugs specifically designed to treat viral infections. These drugs work in similar ways and are used to manage conditions caused by viruses. The herpes virus spreads by creating more of its cells in your body. Valtrex helps by inhibiting the virus’s ability to multiply, making it harder for the infection to spread. It’s important to note that while Valtrex can manage the symptoms & reduce the spread of the virus, it does not cure herpes infections. The virus can remain in your body and cause future outbreaks. However, Valtrex can help prevent re-infections and reduce the severity of symptoms during future outbreaks.

Important Safety Information for Using Valtrex

What Are the Side Effects of Valtrex?

Valtrex (valacyclovir) oral tablets generally do not cause drowsiness. However, they can lead to other side effects. If these effects are mild, they typically resolve on their own within a few days to a couple of weeks. If the side effects are severe or persist, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist. Some of the more frequently reported side effects of Valtrex include:

  • Pain in your stomach area
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

Contact your primary caregiver immediately if you experience severe side effects. If your symptoms seem life-threatening or if you believe you are having a medical emergency, contact 911. The serious side effect & their symptoms may include the following:

  • Unusual mood or behavior. Its symptoms may include:
    • Hallucinations
    • Seizures
    • Confusion
    • Unsteady or shaky movements
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Coma
  • Kidney failure. Its symptoms may include:
    • Severe drowsiness
    • Swelling in your ankles, legs, or feet
    • Urinating less than usual

[Note: Remember, this list may not cover all possible side effects. Always consult with your healthcare giver for medical advice about side effects.]

Are There Any Warnings for Valtrex? 

Before starting this medication, there are important warnings you should be aware of:

  • Warning for kidney failure: There are instances where this medication might cause kidney failure. This risk increases if you are prescribed a high dosage and already have kidney issues. It can also happen if you are taking other medications that are harmful to your kidneys if you are not properly hydrated, or if you are 65 years or older.
  • Warning for blood disorders: This medication may lead to conditions like thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) or hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in some individuals. These disorders significantly reduce the number of red blood cells and platelets in your body and can be fatal. You are at higher risk for these conditions if you have undergone a kidney or bone marrow transplant or if you have advanced AIDS or HIV.
  • Central nervous system effects warning: If you suffer from kidney disease or take higher doses of this medication than prescribed, it can accumulate in your body. Elevated levels of this drug may cause severe side effects that affect your brain. Symptoms might include hallucinations (experiencing sights or sounds that are not present) or delusions (holding beliefs that are not based on reality). Other possible symptoms are agitation, confusion, or seizures. If you experience any of these side effects, discontinue the medication immediately. Seek emergency medical help by visiting the nearest emergency room.
  • Allergy warning: This medication may trigger a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms could include swelling of the tongue or throat and difficulty breathing. If you notice or experience these symptoms, immediately visit the nearest emergency room or directly call 911. Do not take this medication again if you have previously had an allergic reaction to it, as doing so could be life-threatening.

What Are the Valtrex Precautions?

If you are from the mentioned specific group, then you have to take more caution while on this medication:

  • For pregnant women: This medication is classified as a category B pregnancy drug. This classification has two implications: Research in animals has not demonstrated any risk to the fetus when the mother uses the medication. However, there are insufficient studies in humans to determine if there is a risk to the fetus. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, consult your doctor. Animal studies do not always predict exact human responses, so this medication should only be used during pregnancy if absolutely necessary. Contact your primary caregiver immediately if you become pregnant while taking this medication.
  • For women who are breastfeeding: This medication can transfer into breast milk and potentially cause side effects in a breastfed child. Discuss with your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You may need to choose between discontinuing breastfeeding or stopping the medication.
  • For seniors: Older adults may experience decreased kidney function, leading to slower processing of medications. Consequently, drugs may remain in the body longer, increasing the risk of side effects.
  • For children: This medication has not been researched for its effectiveness in treating or preventing herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections in newborns. Below are additional age restrictions for the use of this drug:
    • Chickenpox: This medication is studied and approved for treating chickenpox in children aged 2 to 18 years. It has not been studied or approved for use in children under 2 years of age.
    • Genital herpes: This medication has neither been studied nor approved for the treatment of genital herpes in children under the age of 18.
    • Oral herpes (cold sores): This medication has undergone studies and is authorized for treating cold sores in children aged 12 years and older.
    • Shingles: This medication has not been researched or approved for the treatment of shingles in children under 18 years of age.

What If You Missed a Dose of Valtrex?

  • If you miss doses or fail to take the medication according to your schedule, it may become less effective or may cease to work entirely.
  • For those using this medication to prevent flare-ups of the infection, maintaining a consistent level in your body is crucial.
  • Do not discontinue taking this medication without your doctor’s approval.

[Note: If you have missed a dose of your medication and are unsure about when to take the next one, immediately consult your doctor or pharmacist.]

What Happens If You Take Too Much of Valtrex?

Taking too much Valtrex can lead to dangerously high levels of the medication in your body, which might cause more intense side effects, including:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling weak or lacking energy

If you suspect an overdose, it’s important to contact your primary caregiver immediately or reach out to the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222 or via their online tool. In cases where symptoms are severe, you should call 911 or head to the closest emergency room without delay.

[Note: If you consumed more than the recommended dose, get medical help right away or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.]

How to Store a Valtrex?

  • Keep it at room temperature, ideally between 59°F and 77°F (15°C and 25°C).
  • Store the medication away from light.
  • Avoid storing it in moist or damp places, such as bathrooms.

[Note: Discuss with your healthcare professional about the proper disposal of any unused medicine and any questions you may have regarding its storage.]

What Other Drugs Will Affect Valtrex?

Other medications can interact with Valtrex (valacyclovir), potentially reducing its effectiveness, altering its duration of action, increasing side effects, or diminishing the effect when taken together. Although an interaction between two drugs doesn’t always require stopping one of them, it’s important to manage these interactions carefully. Always discuss with your doctor the best way to handle any drug interactions. Common medications known to interact with valacyclovir include:

  • Clopidogrel
  • Probenecid
  • Tenofovir
  • Theophylline
  • Warfarin, an anticoagulant (blood thinner)
  • NSAIDs, such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, or naproxen
  • Clozapine
  • Zidovudine
  • Other antivirals, such as Acyclovir
  • Cimetidine
  • Hepatitis B medications, such as entecavir
  • Some vaccinations, such as varicella virus or zoster virus vaccine

What Are the Other Interactions of Valtrex?

Alcohol Interaction: It’s advisable to avoid alcohol while taking valacyclovir as it can weaken the immune system and potentially worsen the side effects of the medication. Note that the medications mentioned here are just a few common examples; they do not represent a complete list of all possible drug interactions with valacyclovir. For a comprehensive list of interactions, you should consult the prescribing information for valacyclovir.

[Note: This isn’t a complete list, and there could be other drugs that interact with Valtrex. Make sure to tell your doctor about any prescription, over-the-counter medicines, and herbal products you’re taking.]

What Are the Valtrex Alternatives?

There are alternative medications to Valtrex that might be more suitable for your specific condition. It’s important to discuss these options with your doctor to find the best treatment for you. Some prescription alternatives to Valtrex include:

  • Sitavig (Acyclovir)
  • Zovirax (Acyclovir)

Besides prescription medications, there are also over-the-counter (OTC) treatments you can use at home to help manage symptoms like cold sores or other blisters caused by herpes virus infections. Some OTC options include:

  • Abreva (docosanol)
  • Orajel (benzocaine)
  • Herpecin L (octinoxate/dimethicone/octisalate/meradimate/oxybenzone)

[Note: Your doctor will choose what’s best for you. Don’t use any of these alternative medications without consulting your healthcare provider. Taking them by yourself may cause serious side effects.]

Valtrex Cost & Coupons

Purchasing Valtrex without insurance can be expensive, with prices varying depending on numerous factors. However, those with insurance may find the cost significantly lower. Valtrex is also available as a generic drug called valacyclovir, which often costs less than the brand-name version. To reduce these expenses, many opt to buy Valtrex online from Canada through services like Polar Bear Meds. Ordering Valtrex from Canada in the USA through Polar Bear Meds offers substantial savings, and using the Valtrex coupon code WELCOMEPB10 provides an additional 10% discount on your first order. Additionally, our referral program offers a free coupon card with every referral.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Valtrex the same as Acyclovir?

Valtrex (valacyclovir) and Zovirax (Acyclovir) are both antiviral medications used to prevent the virus from multiplying. Although they target the same viruses, there’s a key difference in how often you need to take them. Valtrex offers a longer-lasting effect, which means it can be taken less frequently throughout the day. This convenience is the main advantage of Valtrex over Zovirax.

Can you stop taking Valtrex?

It’s important to take Valtrex exactly as your doctor prescribes. Stopping Valtrex suddenly or not taking it at all could mean that your infection doesn’t improve, or it could get worse. If you miss doses or don’t follow the prescribed schedule, the medication might not be as effective or could stop working altogether.

Is valacyclovir an antibiotic?

No, valacyclovir is not an antibiotic; it is an antiviral drug. It works by slowing down the growth & then spread of the herpes virus, helping the body combat the infection. Valacyclovir is used to treat various infections caused by herpes viruses, like shingles (herpes zoster), cold sores and genital herpes in adults.

Is 7 days of Valtrex enough for shingles?

Yes, 7 days of Valtrex is typically enough for treating shingles. The usual dosage is 1 gram taken orally three times a day for 7 days. It’s important to continue taking Valtrex for the full 7 days, even if you start feeling better or notice improvement in your rash. Stopping the medication early can prevent you from fully treating the infection.

Our Guarantee

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