Valtrex is a branded medication containing the active ingredient valaciclovir and used to treat genital herpes. We don't offer Valtrex but we do offer generic valaciclovir.

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from £40.00

Product details

Valtrex is a prescription only medication that treats outbreaks of cold sores and genital herpes, and can also be used to treat shingles and chickenpox. Valtrex is a branded version of Valaciclovir, and works in the exact same way.

Please note: We do not offer Valtrex but we offer the generic version valaciclovir for the treatment of genital herpes.

Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Development

Medically reviewed by

Dr Babak Ashrafi

Last reviewed: 17 Sep 2021

Valaciclovir (generic Valtrex) 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 Valtrex

What is Valtrex?

Valtrex is a branded tablet which contains the active ingredient (medication) valaciclovir. Valtrex can be used for outbreaks of HSV infections, including genital herpes and cold sores.

What are Valtrex tablets?

Valtrex tablets are white, oval shaped tablets that contain valaciclovir. The tablets should be taken by mouth and are prescribed by a doctor. Valtrex is the branded name but you may also find valaciclovir tablets under other names.

What are Valtrex tablets used for?

Valtrex can be used in the treatment of:

  • cold sores
  • shingles
  • genital herpes
  • chicken pox

Superdrug offers generic valaciclovir only for the treatment of genital herpes and cold sores. Both of these infections are caused by the virus HSV. Valtrex can be used to treat the first outbreak, further outbreaks, and can be used between any outbreaks, as a suppression treatment. There is no cure for HSV, but Valtrex can help with outbreaks of cold sores or genital herpes.

What’s the difference between Zovirax and Valtrex?

Zovirax is a branded tablet containing the medication aciclovir. Valtrex is a branded tablet containing the medication valaciclovir. These medications work in similar ways, as the medication valaciclovir is broken down inside your body and becomes aciclovir. Both medications can be used to treat outbreaks of HSV and are equally effective. The only difference is that you take fewer Valtrex tablets in one day than you do with Zovirax.

How does Valtrex work?

Valtrex works by preventing the herpes virus from growing and multiplying, reducing its ability to spread to healthy cells. This helps the body to control the virus and suppress an outbreak, reducing symptoms such as itching, pain, and tingling. It can also help sores heal up faster. Valtrex can also help to reduce the risk of transmission of herpes. Studies have shown that those taking valaciclovir were 50% less likely to transfer the virus to their partner than those who were not taking it. While Valtrex can help to reduce the symptoms of herpes, it’s important to note Valtrex is not a cure for herpes.

How long does it take Valtrex to work?

For most outbreaks of HSV, you should start to feel better within a few days of taking Valtrex tablets. If you do not feel better after your tablets are finished, or your symptoms get worse whilst taking them, speak with your doctor. You may need a different medication or a higher dosage. Never increase your dosage without speaking to a doctor first.

How long does a herpes outbreak last with Valtrex?

Herpes outbreaks can last around 7 to 14 days, with symptoms lasting 7 days or more without treatment. The first outbreak of HSV may last longer. If you take Valtrex when you see the first signs of an outbreak, it should help you to feel better within a few days.

How effective is Valtrex?

One study found that treatment with valaciclovir can decrease the number of outbreaks and the length of outbreaks by 91% to 97%. This means it is very effective and is one of the most prescribed medications for HSV infections.

Can I have sex while taking Valtrex?

If you have been prescribed Valtrex for genital herpes, you must not have sex until all sores and blisters have fully healed. You should always try to use a condom with your partner, even after the sores have gone. This reduces the chance of your partner catching HSV.

If you have been prescribed Valtrex for cold sores, you should avoid kissing or oral sex until the cold sores have fully healed. This means you could still have sex, as long as you avoid this.

How to use Valtrex

Take Valtrex as soon as you first notice signs of an outbreak, as this is when it is most effective. These symptoms include:

  • redness or lumps under the skin
  • itching
  • tingling
  • burning
  • sores or blisters forming

The dosage will depend on why you are using Valtrex. You can be prescribed Valtrex 1 to 4 times daily, with doses of 500mg to 2000mg. Your doctor will tell you what doses you need and your dosage will also be printed on your tablet pack.

How to take Valtrex tablets

You can take Valtrex tablets by mouth, with a full glass of water. Taking a full glass of water helps to keep the kidneys to break down this medication and continue to work normally. You can take the tablet with or without food. Valtrex can be taken in 3 ways:

  1. Valtrex can be used to suppress herpes when prescribed 500mg to 1000mg daily.
  2. Valtrex can be used to prevent HSV outbreaks. The typical dosage to prevent the outbreak is 500mg, 2 times daily for 3 days. You should take Valtrex as soon as you notice the first symptoms.
  3. Valtrex can be used for cold sore suppression when taken daily, for up to a year. This can reduce the chances of your cold sore outbreaks by a third.

When should I take Valtrex?

Valtrex should be taken as soon as you see the first symptoms appear. If it is your first outbreak, use Valtrex as soon as you’ve spoken to a doctor and been prescribed the treatment. It can be taken any time, as long as doses are spread evenly throughout the day.

How many Valtrex tablets should I take?

The number of tablets you take will depend on what you have been prescribed and whether you are using Valtrex for suppression or treatment of an outbreak. To treat an outbreak you should take 4 a day.

Valtrex doses

There are different Valtrex doses depending on whether you are using it for the treatment of genital herpes, cold sores, or as a suppression treatment. The general treatment for HSV outbreaks starts at 500mg Valtrex tablets, 1 to 4 times daily, for around 5 days and can be increased if needed, but never increase your dose until you have spoken to a doctor.

Valtrex 500mg

Valtrex tablets are 500mg tablets that are usually taken twice daily. For recurrent outbreaks, Valtrex 500mg tablets can be taken for 3 to 5 days, 2 times a day. The first outbreak of HSV lasts the longest and treatment will be 500mg tablets, 2 times a day, for up to 10 days during this time.To prevent outbreaks, Valtrex 500mg tablets can also be taken once daily.

Valtrex 1000mg

Valtrex can also be found in 1000mg tablets. This is for the treatment of cold sores and is taken twice daily. For this treatment, you will only take 2 doses, in 1 day.

Where can I buy Valtrex?

Valtrex cannot be supplied over the counter due to it being a prescription drug. Valtrex can be found on the NHS but may be found under a different branded name, or as valaciclovir. Valtrex can also be found online. You can get a prescription and order your treatment here at Superdrug Online Doctor.

Can I buy Valtrex tablets online?

Yes, through trusted and regulated sellers like Superdrug Online Doctor. The process is easy and can be done on our website:

  1. Start your order by filling in an easy, quick, and secure medical questionnaire. Here, you will be able to answer questions about your symptoms and upload photos of the affected areas.
  2. One of the doctors will then review your questionnaire and, if approved, will provide a prescription
  3. Your prescription generic valaciclovir tablets can then be dispensed for you to collect in-store at any Superdrug, delivered to your home address, or collected at your local Post Office. The packing will remain discreet, meaning nobody will be able to tell what is inside.
  4. If you have any further questions, you can contact a doctor via your account at any time.

Can I get Valtrex tablets on the NHS?

Valtrex can be found on the NHS but as Valtrex is the brand name you may be prescribed with a different brand, or the tablets may be unbranded. You may also be prescribed aciclovir instead.

Can I buy Valtrex tablets over the counter?

Valtrex is a prescription medication, and cannot be supplied over the counter without a prescription from a doctor. We do not offer the brand Valtrex, but we do offer the generic version valaciclovir, which works in the exact same way.

Valtrex side effects

Like every medication, Valtrex tablets may have some side effects. The most common are headaches, dizziness, or diarrhoea and vomiting (being sick). Valtrex can cause allergic reactions in rare cases and you must stop treatment and call 111 (or 999 in severe cases), if you develop signs of an allergic reaction. If you develop any of the below side effects, stop use and speak with your doctor.

What are the side effects of Valtrex tablets?

The most common side effects include:

  • feeling tired
  • diarrhoea
  • itching
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • skin feeling sensitive to sun
  • fever
  • being sick or feeling sick

Uncommon effects include:

  • hives
  • hair loss

Rare side effects include:

  • breathing difficulties
  • swelling
  • blood and liver changes

Very rare side effects include:

  • feeling extremely sleepy and drowsy
  • fits (seizures)
  • confusion
  • shaking
  • yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)

How long do side effects of Valtrex last?

Side effects of Valtrex will be different for every person. If you have any common side effects, you may continue to take the medication as long as you can. For most people, these side effects will stop after a few days. If you experience any serious side effects, you should stop using Valtrex straight away and speak with a doctor.

What should I do if I get side effects?

If you get any side effects from Valtrex, speak to a doctor if they last longer than 5 days or bother you. If you get any rare side effects after taking Valtrex you should go to A&E, as you may need treatment. You can report side effects through the Yellow Card Scheme.

Who can take Valtrex?

Valtrex is not the right treatment for everyone. You should only use Valtrex if you have genital herpes or cold sores, which are caused by HSV. You can take Valtrex when pregnant and breastfeeding as long as you speak with a doctor first. Some medications may interact with Valtrex, so tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications. You should also speak with your doctor before taking if you:

  • have a weakened immune system
  • have or have had concerns with your kidneys

Can you take Valtrex when pregnant?

Yes, it can be safe to take Valtrex when pregnant but speak to a doctor first to find out the risks and benefits of treatment.

Can you take Valtrex while breastfeeding?

Yes, it can be safe to take Valtrex when breastfeeding. As Valtrex is taken by mouth, some of the medication can be passed to the baby through breastmilk but this is unlikely to cause harm. Speak to a doctor first to find out the risks and benefits.

Medications that can interact with Valtrex

Some medications can interact with Valtrex, meaning you will not get the most effective treatment. Some medications can increase the chances of you getting side effects from Valtrex when taken together. Speak to your doctor if you are taking:

  • medication for gout
  • medication for stomach ulcers
  • ibuprofen
  • medication for an organ transplant
  • medication for asthma
  • aciclovir (as this is what Valtrex is broken down into)

Can you drink alcohol when taking Valtrex?

Yes, you can drink alcohol when taking Valtrex.

Can you take paracetamol with Valtrex?

Yes, Valtrex is not known to interact with Paracetamol so is safe to take if you need pain relief.


Aciclovir (including Valtrex) (2019) NHS [Accessed 7 July 2021]

Allergies (2018) NHS [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Hives (2021) NHS [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Preventing cold sores (2015) Harvard Medical School [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Prodrugs (2021) ScienceDirect [Accessed 7 July 2021]

Shingles (2018) NHS [Accessed 6 July 2021]

Treatment of Herpes Labialis: Comparison of Two Otc drugs and Untreated Controls (2011) Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry [Accessed 7 July 2021]

Treatment Options for Genital Herpes (2020) WebMD [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Valacyclovir (2021) [Accessed 7 July 2021]

Valacyclovir and Acyclovir for Suppression of Shedding of Herpes Simplex Virus in the Genital Tract (2004) The Journal of Infectious Diseases [Accessed 13 July 2021]

Valacyclovir for viral infections (2019) [Accessed 7 July 2021]

Yellowcard (2021) Yellowcard [Accessed 5 July 2021]

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