Valtrex is an antiviral medicine. This drug helps in slowing down the growth as well as spread of herpes virus in the body that in turn helps in fighting the infections.
This antiviral helps in the treatment of infections caused by herpes virus like genital herpes, herpes zoster (shingles) as well as cold sores in adults and cold sores in children of 12 years of age or more and chickenpox in children who are 2 years of age or more.
Valtrex is not indicated for curing herpes. It will also not prevent the spread of herpes virus to others. This drug will only control the symptoms cause by the infection.
The generic name of Valtrex is Vanacyclovir.
Indications of Valtrex (Valacyclovir)
In adult patients, Valtrex (Valacyclovir) helps in the treatment of:
- Herpes labialis (cold sores)
- Gential Herpes
- Herpes Zoster i.e. shingles in immunocompetent adults.
In pediatric patients
Pediatric Patients Valtrex (Valacyclovir) helps in the treatment of:
- Herpes labialis (cold sores)
- Chicken pox
Side- effects of Valtrex (Valacyclovir)
The serious side- effects of Valtrex (Valacyclovir) include:
- Feeling unsteady or shaky
- Convulsions (seizures)
- Problems with speech
- Kidney problems like painful or difficult urination, little or no urination at all, feeling tired, swelling on the ankles or feet and short of breath
- Allergic reaction to Valtrex (Valacyclovir) manifesting as occurrence of rashes or hives, swelling on lips, tongue, throat and face and difficulty in breathing
The side- effects mentioned above need quick medical attention.
You must visit your doctor if you see following signs as they can harm the red blood cells. These side-effects are more common in adults who are 65 years of age or more. The serious side- effects harming red blood cells include:
- Pale skin
- Pink or red urine
- Little or no urination at all
- Unusual bleed like bleeding gums, nose bleeds, et al
- Red spots on skin that are not related to chickenpox or herpes
- Stomach pain
- Bloody diarrhea
- Feeling tired or weak
- Swelling on hands, feet or face
Common side- effects of Valtrex (Valacyclovir) include:
- Pain in stomach
- Feeling tired
How to take Valtrex (Valacyclovir)?
You must take Valtrex (Valacyclovir) as instructed by your doctor. Follow all the instructions and do not change the dose. Also, take the medicine only for the designated period of time. For some herpes infection, your doctor will instruct you to take the medications for a longer duration of time as compared to other infections.
Start taking the medication on the first appearance of the symptoms. Delaying the treatment will make it less effective.
You can take the medication with or without food.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
You must be very cautious while taking the medication if you are pregnant. Discuss all the potential risks and benefits with the doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Also, if you are a nursing woman, you must take this medication with great caution.
Valtrex is found effective for treating herpes zoster, suppress recurrent genital herpes in HIV infected, treat and suppress genital herpes in immunocompetent patients and to treat cold sores.
Taken orally, Valtrex comes in tablet form. For shingles, the drug should be taken three times a day at an interval of eight hours. For genital herpes, Valtrex should be taken two times a day for five consecutive days. For cold sores, it is taken only for a day. You should not discontinue Valtrex without the doctor’s direction.
Better do not take double dosage. If missed a dosage, take it when you remember it. And if it is nearly time for the next dosage, skip the missed one.
It should be noted that Valtrex does not prevent the spread of the disease. It is better to avoid others coming in contact with the infected area. When having sex, it is better to use condoms to prevent the spread of the virus.