Valtrex is an antiviral medicine which reduces growth of herpes. It is used for treating herpes infection like shingles, genital herpes and cold sores. Valtrex is used only in patients more than 12 years of age. It is also used for children affected with chicken pox.
The generic name of Valtrex is Valacyclovir. There are a lot of companies which sell the generic form of the drug in different forms. You should always stick with manufacturers who are approved by FDA. Do not pick up a generic drug just because it is cheap. Only a high-quality generic drug has equivalent effectiveness as the brand drug.
Do not take Valtrex without consulting a doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The drug passes into breast milk and will affect the child. Valtrex is not known to affect unborn fetus. Moreover, genital herpes should be avoided during pregnancy. It is better to leave this decision to your gynecologist.
When a symptom appears, you should consume Valtrex for the full prescription time. You should not stop the drug if your symptoms improve before the prescription time limit. Stopping drugs would cause the virus to become resistant to the drug.
Valtrex is used primarily in treating different forms of the herpes virus or varicella zoster. This virus can manifest itself in both adults and children. The virus itself cannot be eliminated and it always remains dormant in the body unless triggered.
The conditions for which Valtrex may be used are chicken pox, cold sores on the mouth and genitals, and shingles. What the drug really does is reduce the amount of cold sores that appear on the skin and also the frequency.
Valtrex also used to speed up the healing process when these symptoms appear. The virus itself can be easily passed on from one person to another when it is active and if there is any contact with the infected person.
Consumption of Valtrex in a timely manner would be the most effective way to control the sores. It is usually taken for the entire course prescribed even if the appearances of symptoms have improved.
Valtrex is available as capsule-shaped tablets in the dosage strengths of 500 mg and 1 g.
The common dosage of Valtrex for adults is 2g for every 12 hours. For genital herpes, 1g for every 12 hours for 10 days is the recommended dose. This dosage can vary from one individual to another. You should always stick to dosage recommended by your doctor.
The precise dosage that is prescribed for the condition being treated should be taken without making any changes to you. Digressing from the dosage instructions will not help as the potency of the drug in controlling the virus may not be as effective.
The first dose of Valtrex should be taken as soon as the first symptoms of cold sores or shingles are felt, like tingling and burning in the usual problem areas. Keep the lesions cool and dry without irritating it further for faster healing. Drink plenty of water.
The drug can cause certain effects with use. Common side effects of Valtrex include:
- Stomach pain
Severe symptoms that may require immediate medical attention are:
- Trouble urinating
- Urine that appears to be pink or red
- Unusual bleeding
- Bloody diarrhea
- Swelling of the face and limbs
- Kidney problems
- Confusion or aggression
The drug may not be suitable for use in certain groups of people who may be:
- Pregnant women who face the risk of transmitting herpes to the fetus. Breastfeeding is also not recommended although it is not clear if Valtrex can pass through breast milk.
- Avoid taking Valtrex drug if you are allergic to valacyclovir or acyclovir.
- Inform all your doctors if you have been diagnosed with HIV or any other immunity-compromising condition.
- Prolonged use of Valtrex can affect the functioning of the kidneys. Any drug that can potentially cause damage to the kidneys should be avoided unless it is considered as safe by your doctor.