What is Valtrex?
Valtrex is an antiviral medicine used to treat infections with herpes viruses. The active ingredient valaciclovir prevents the herpes viruses from multiplying. This controls the infection and helps the immune system to deal with it. Valtrex is a prescription-only medicine.
What is Valtrex used for?
Valtrex is used to treat cold sores, shingles and genital herpes.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are characterised by:
- A burning or tingling sensation on or around the lips that develops into painful, fluid-filled blisters with scabs.
Genital herpes is a contagious STD caused by the herpes simplex virus. Its symptoms include:
- Itching and/or pain in the genital area, followed by blisters and sores with scabs.
Shingles is a painful rash caused by the herpes zoster virus, which is the virus that causes chickenpox. It is characterised by:
- Pain and itching, typically on one side of the body, followed by redness of the skin and blisters.
Valtrex blocks the action of the herpes simplex and the herpes zoster virus and provides short-term relief from symptoms.
How to use Valtrex
This medicine can be used to treat herpes infections or prevent recurrence of herpes infections. Valtrex tablets should be taken at the same time each day with plenty of liquid. Always complete the prescribed course. Most courses vary between one and ten days. Longer courses are indicated to prevent re-infection. In this case, the doctor will tell you how long you need to take this medicine.
Valtrex is available in various strengths. The number of tablets to take, how often and for how long must be determined by a doctor. The recommended dose for treating cold sores and genital herpes is:
- Adults and children aged 12 and above: 500 mg to 2000 mg twice a day for as long as the doctor prescribes.
The recommended dose for treating singles is:
- Adults: 1000 mg three times a day for as long as the doctor prescribes.
Always follow the prescribed dosage and read the package leaflet closely before you use this medicine.
Valtrex may cause side effects, including:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, diarrhoea, stomach ache);
- Increased sensitivity of the skin to UV light.
Consult a doctor if these or other side effects are severe. For more information on possible side effects, see the package leaflet.
When not to use Valtrex
Valtrex is not suitable for everyone. Do not use this antiviral medicine if:
- You are allergic to valaciclovir or any other ingredient in this medicine.
Consult a doctor on the use of Valtrex if you are older than 65 years of age, have a kidney or liver disease or other health problems. Valtrex is known to interact with some medicines. It is therefore important to tell the doctor what medicines you are currently taking to make sure the combination is safe.
The use of Valtrex is not recommended in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Valtrex may cause side effects that interfere with your ability to react. Stay out of traffic if you are less alert.
Do not drink alcohol while taking Valtrex as this is likely to trigger or worsen the side effects.