Valaciclovir tablets can be taken to prevent genital herpes outbreaks or treat symptoms of an acute outbreak when it happens.

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from £40.00

Product details

Valaciclovir is a medication prescribed to treat acute outbreaks or to prevent flare ups of genital herpes. It is up to 97% effective, and can reduce symptoms in just 3 days.

Dr Simran Deo Medical Editor

Medically reviewed by

Dr Simran Deo

Last reviewed: 26 Mar 2020

Valaciclovir prices

Pack Size Price
500 mg - 10 tablet(s) - Daily Suppression Treatment £40.00
500 mg - 10 tablet(s) - Single course £40.00
500 mg - 20 tablet(s) - First Ever Outbreak £70.00
500 mg - 20 tablet(s) - Two courses £70.00
500 mg - 30 tablet(s) - Three courses £90.00

How it Works

About Valaciclovir

What is valaciclovir?

Valaciclovir is an antiviral medication used to kill or stop the growth of certain viruses. It is used to treat an outbreak of genital herpes as well as cold sores, chickenpox, and shingles. It is also used to prevent repeat infections.

Valaciclovir is given in tablet form and the dose will depend on what you are taking it for.

What are valaciclovir tablets used for?

Valaciclovir tablets are used to treat viral infections, like:

  • genital herpes
  • herpes simplex virus affecting the skin
  • cold sores
  • shingles
  • cytomegalovirus
  • herpes simplex virus of the eye.

We offer valaciclovir for the treatment of genital herpes and cold sores. There are two types of herpes virus:

  1. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)
  2. Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)

HSV-1 is mainly spread orally (by mouth) and includes symptoms like cold sores, but it also causes genital herpes. HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted disease (spread by sex) that causes genital herpes.

Both types of HSV are lifelong infections. They can remain inactive for many years. When the virus becomes active it causes a herpes outbreak.

Symptoms include:

  • small, painful, bursting blisters
  • tingling, burning, or itching
  • pain when you pee
  • abnormal vaginal discharge in women

Valaciclovir stops the virus from replicating and is used to treat the symptoms and prevent future outbreaks.

What’s the difference between aciclovir and valaciclovir?

Aciclovir may be offered as a first line treatment for a herpes infection. It is like valaciclovir, in that it is used to suppress the virus.

Valaciclovir is a prodrug, which means it is not in its active form when it is taken. Instead, it is converted inside your body into the active drug, aciclovir.

Both medications work in the same way but a larger amount of valaciclovir enters the bloodstream and has a better effect on the infection.

How does valaciclovir work?

Valaciclovir works by killing viruses or stopping them from growing. It does not cure herpes simplex virus but instead stops outbreaks and manages the painful symptoms.

How long do valaciclovir tablets take to work?

It can take up to 3 days for symptoms to reduce when taking valaciclovir. You should ensure that you finish the prescribed course so that it works.

How long does a herpes outbreak last while taking valaciclovir?

It can take up to 10 days for herpes blisters to heal even when taking valaciclovir. You should start valaciclovir treatment as soon as you notice signs or symptoms of an infection.

How effective is valaciclovir?

According to research, valaciclovir is effective at reducing the shedding of the herpes virus by up to 97%.

Can I have sex while taking valaciclovir?

You should avoid sex if you have an outbreak of herpes because you can pass the virus on to your partner. Genital herpes can be transmitted through oral, vaginal, and anal sex.

If you are taking valaciclovir to prevent genital herpes, or have had herpes in the past, it is important to practice safe sex, particularly with the use of condoms. Condoms are the only method of contraception which protect you and your sexual partners from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

How to take valaciclovir?

When taking valaciclovir, you should:

  • swallow the tablets whole with a glass of water
  • take them at the same time every day for the whole course
  • take the tablets exactly as instructed by the doctor

When taking valaciclovir for cold sores the usual dose is 2000mg twice per day. You should take the second dose 12 hours after the first dose, but no sooner than 6 hours after. You should only take valaciclovir for 1 day (only 2 doses).

For the treatment of herpes simplex virus on the skin and genital herpes, the recommended dose is 500mg twice daily. If it is your first infection, you’ll need to take valaciclovir for 5 to 10 days. If it is a recurrent infection, you’ll normally need to take valaciclovir for 3 to 5 days.

To take valaciclovir to prevent herpes simplex viruses from returning after you have had them, you will likely be prescribed 500mg (1 tablet) once per day. You should take the medication until your doctor tells you to stop.

How many valaciclovir tablets should I take?

Only take the number of tablets prescribed by your doctor, usually:

  • 4 x 500mg tablets twice a day for the treatment of cold sores
  • 1 x 500mg twice a day for HSV skin infections and genital herpes
  • 1 x 500mg tablet per day for the prevention of HSV infections

Valaciclovir doses

If you have an outbreak of genital herpes for the first time, a doctor will likely prescribe you with one 500mg valaciclovir tablet to be taken twice daily for at least 5 days. This can be extended 10 days if new blisters appear or the healing is not complete.

If you are prescribed valaciclovir for a repeat outbreak, you’ll probably be given one 500mg valaciclovir tablet per day for 3 to 5 days.

Valaciclovir is also prescribed by Superdrug Online Doctor for the treatment of cold sores. If this is the case, you will be prescribed 2000mg of valaciclovir twice for 1 day.

Where can I buy valaciclovir?

You will need a prescription to get valaciclovir but there are a few options available to you if you think you need this medication.

Can I buy valaciclovir tablets online?

Valaciclovir can be purchased through Superdrug Online Doctor. The process is quick and easy.

  1. Complete our short online medical assessment.
  2. One of our doctors will review your responses and decide whether it is safe and appropriate to prescribe valaciclovir to you.
  3. If it is, then you can choose to have your treatment posted to an address of your choice or you can arrange to collect it from a local Superdrug store

Can I get valaciclovir tablets on the NHS?

You may be able to get valaciclovir on the NHS. However, it will depend on local guidelines and the individual NHS Trust. Valaciclovir is often prescribed as a second line treatment for herpes infections when aciclovir courses have been unsuccessful.

Can I buy valaciclovir tablets over the counter?

No, you must have a prescription from a doctor to buy valaciclovir.

Valaciclovir side effects

Like all medications, valaciclovir can cause side effects but not everyone will get them.

Very common side effects include:

  • headaches

Common side effects include:

  • diarrhoea
  • dizziness
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • itching
  • rash
  • skin reaction after sunlight exposure
  • vomiting (being sick)

Uncommon side effects include:

  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • feeling agitated
  • hallucinations
  • tremors

Rare side effects include:

  • confusion or disturbed thoughts
  • fits
  • slow, slurred speech
  • unconsciousness
  • unsteady when walking

How long do side effects of valaciclovir last?

You may get side effects while taking valaciclovir that will not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to you taking this medicine, they may go away after a few days.

But, if you are unable to cope with the side effects or are worried about them ask your doctor for advice.

What should I do if I get side effects?

If you get any side effects while taking valaciclovir, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

However, you should stop taking valaciclovir and seek medical attention straight away if you get symptoms associated with an allergic reaction, like:

  • swelling of the lips, face, neck, or throat (especially if it makes it hard to breathe)
  • flushing, itchy skin
  • a fall in blood pressure causing collapse

Who can take valaciclovir?

You should not take valaciclovir if you:

  • are allergic to valaciclovir or aciclovir or any other ingredients in the medicine
  • have ever had an extended rash alongside fever, enlarged lymph nodes, high levels of liver enzymes or eosinophilia after taking valaciclovir.

You should let your doctor know before taking valaciclovir if you:

  • are over 65 years of age
  • have kidney or liver problems
  • have a weak immune system.

Can you take valaciclovir when pregnant?

Valaciclovir is not usually recommended for use during pregnancy. You should let your doctor know if you think you might be pregnant, or if you are planning to get pregnant, before you start taking valaciclovir.

Can you take valaciclovir while breastfeeding?

Valaciclovir is not usually recommended for use while breastfeeding. You should speak to your doctor before using valaciclovir if you are breastfeeding.

Medications that can interact with valaciclovir

You should let your doctor know if you are taking or have recently taken any other medication including herbal remedies and supplements.

You should let your doctor know if you are taking any medicines that affect the kidneys, such as:

  • aminoglycosides
  • ciclosporin
  • cimetidine
  • foscarnet
  • iodinated contrast media
  • methotrexate
  • organoplatinum compounds
  • pentamidine
  • probenecid
  • tacrolimus

Can you drink alcohol when taking valaciclovir?

Yes, alcohol doesn’t interfere with how antiviral medications work.

Can you take paracetamol with valaciclovir?

Yes, you can take paracetamol while taking valaciclovir. But, you should avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen as these can cause kidney issues.


Herpes Simplex Virus (2020) WHO [Accessed 01 July 2021]

Genital Herpes Symptoms (2021) NHS [Accessed 01 July 2021]

Prodrugs (2018) Nature Reviews [Accessed 01 July 2021]

Anti-viral Treatment for Recurrent Herpes (2019) NHS [Accessed 01 July 2021]

Valaciclovir How It Works (2021) [Accessed 01 July 2021]

Valaciclovir Shedding (2004) The Journal of Infectious Diseases [Accessed 01 July 2021]

Valaciclovir Side Effects (2020) [Accessed 05 July 2021]

Patient Reviews