What is Valtrex?
Valtrex is an antiviral medicine, that works to stop infections such as herpes (genital or otherwise).
How does Valtrex work?
This medication works by stopping the infecting virus from reproducing. This process starts very early after being infected so Valtrex works best when taken as soon as possible once symptoms begin to appear.
What are the benefits of taking Valtrex?
Part of a group of sexually transmitted infections, Genital herpes is a viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or 2. The symptoms can be painful and uncomfortable, as the virus causes blisters and burning or itching around the genitals.
Treating genital herpes with Valtrex not only clears symptoms, but also stops the disease from being passed onto anyone else.
How do I use Valtrex?
Valtrex is a prescription-only medication. Always follow the advice of your doctor and read the patient information leaflet provided in the medication packet.
The tablets should be swallowed whole with a drink of water, with or without food. Try to take your tablets at the same time each day, to assist you in remembering.
If you are showing symptoms for or being treated for genital herpes then you should not engage in sexual contact with anyone because of the risk of passing it on and spreading the disease.
Valtrex contains the active ingredient of valaciclovir (as valaciclovir hydrochloride monohydrate), with tablets coming in 250mg and 500mg doses. Your doctor will know which dose is suitable for the condition you are trying to treat, and can advise you.
When treating genital herpes, the recommended dose is 500mg taken twice a day. For the first infection, you should take the tablets for 5-10 days (to be decided by your doctor). If you’ve had an outbreak before and are treating a further one then treatment normally lasts for 3-5 days. For prevention of any further outbreaks, the normal dose is 500mg once a day for as long as your doctor decides.
These doses can however, be altered, in cases where your immune system is weakened, you have kidney problems, you are over 65 years old or you are treating another kind of herpes (such as shingles).
If you forget to take your Valtrex tablet then you should take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s nearly time for your next one then do not double up to make up for the forgotten dose. Just continue with the normal amount as prescribed.
If you take more Valtrex than you should, then you should contact a doctor or pharmacist immediately as it can have a damaging effect on your kidneys.
Side effects & precautions
Before taking Valtrex, you should always first consult your doctor. You should not take Valtrex if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are allergic to valaciclovir or aciclovir or any of the other ingredients of this medicine
Your prescription of Valtrex may also be affected by a number of other factors, so you should make your doctor aware if any of the following apply:
- you have kidney problems
- you have liver problems
- you are over 65 years of age
- your immune system is weak
Like many medications with active ingredients, Valtrex can affect or be affected by other medicines. Particular medications that you may experience this with include the following:
- organoplatinum compounds
- iodinated contrast media
- methotrexate, pentamidine
- Any other medicines that affect the kidneys
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to have a baby then you should discuss this with your doctor, as they are unlikely to prescribe Valtrex unless they decide it’s absolutely necessary.
If you have ever had genital herpes or are currently being treated for it then you should always practice safe sex by using condoms. If you have genital sores or blisters then you should avoid having sex entirely, until they have been treated.
As this medication can have a potentially damaging effect on your kidneys and nervous system, it’s important that you drink a lot of water throughout the day while being treated with Valtrex.
The most common side effects of using Valtrex include:
- feeling sick
- skin reaction after exposure to sunlight
- itching (pruritus)
If you do experience one or more of these side effects and they persist or worsen, then inform your doctor right away. You should also contact your doctor immediately if you experience any serious side effects, such as an allergic reaction, difficulty breathing, or collapse due to low blood pressure.