Valaciclovir is a medication for genital herpes. It is prescribed to treat acute outbreaks or to prevent recurrent bouts of genital herpes.
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There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2, both of which can cause symptoms on the genitals, lips and fingers. Valaciclovir can be used to treat both HSV-1 and HSV-2.
Once you have caught herpes simplex, the virus can remain inactive for many years, during which time you will not have any symptoms. When the virus is active, it can cause pain, itching, stinging and blisters. Valaciclovir is an antiviral medicine, which stops the virus from replicating and can be taken to treat the symptoms or prevent outbreaks.
For your treatment to work, you need to follow the doctor’s instructions on how to take it. You should take Valaciclovir as soon as you notice symptoms, and ideally within five days of the first herpes symptoms appearing.
You should aim to begin antiviral treatment within the first five days of noticing herpes symptoms, but taking Valaciclovir within the first two days of an outbreak produces the best results. If you are being treated for your first outbreak of herpes, the doctor will probably prescribe a dose of two 500mg Valaciclovir tablets per day for five days, or up to ten days if new lesions appear during treatment or if healing is incomplete.
If you are having a repeat outbreak of herpes the doctor will probably prescribe the same dosage (500mg) per day, but for only three to five days. The doctor will advise you on your personal treatment plan.
Take your tablets with a drink of water. Each dose should be taken at the same time everyday. If you miss a tablet, just take it as soon as you remember. If it is already time for the next dose, just continue and take the next pill as usual without taking a double dose. Follow the doctor's instructions carefully. Complete the course you have been prescribed, even if your symptoms have improved.
Whilst you are taking Valaciclovir, you can damage your kidneys if you become dehydrated. Valaciclovir also makes you sensitive to sunburn. It is important that you drink enough water and that you apply sunscreen to protect yourself from these side effects whilst you are taking the medication.
Can I have intercourse during treatment?
You should not have sex during an episode of herpes, as this puts your partner at risk of contracting genital herpes. Genital herpes can also be transmitted during oral and anal sex.
Each tablet contains either 250mg, 500mg or 1000mg Valaciclovir (in the form of valaciclovir hydrochloride monohydrate). Further ingredients are cellulose microcrystalline, povidone, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, titanium dioxide (E171), macrogol 400 and hypromellose. The film coat contains hypromellose, titanium dioxide, polysorbate 80 and carnauba wax.
Valaciclovir is also sold as Valtrex, a branded medication.
- nausea and vomiting
Uncommon Side Effects
- shortness of breath
- feelings of agitation
Rare Side Effects
- abdominal discomfort
- impaired kidney function or liver function
Very Rare Side Effects
- Anaphylactic reactions
- Blood changes including thrombocytopenia, leukopenia
- Tremor, spontaneous muscle movements (ataxia), speaking disorders (dysarthria), convulsions
You must not take Valaciclovir if you:
- Are allergic to any of the ingredients.
- Are over 65
- Have a weak immune system
- Have kidney problems
- Have liver problems
If you experience a serious allergic reaction (facial swelling, itchy skin and difficulty breathing), stop taking Valaciclovir immediately and see a doctor.
You should drink plenty of water while taking Valaciclovir to minimise your risk of dehydration.
You should not drive or operate heavy machinery if your feel dizzy or sleepy while taking medication.
Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding and wish to take Valaciclovir. Please note, that Superdrug Online Doctor is unable to provide treatment for pregnant women - please visit your local GP.
You must tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications before taking Valaciclovir:
- Non-prescription herbal medicines
- Medicines that affect the kidneys, including aminoglycosides, organoplatinum compounds, iodinated contrast media, methotrexate, pentamidine, foscarnet, theophylline, ciclosporin, tacrolimus, cimetidine and probenecid.
There is no known interaction between alcohol and Valaciclovir.