Valacyclovir: Introduction, Prescription, Intake, Side Effects, Doses, Precautions, Interactions

What is Valacyclovir?

Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug recommended to retard the growth and proliferation of herpes virus. And this is how it aids the body to combat the infection. The medication is employed to cure infections triggered by herpes viruses, consisting of cold sores, shingles (herpes zoster) and genital herpes in adults. The medicine is also employed to treat cold sores in minors who are at least 12 years of age or above and chickenpox in kids of age 2 years or more. This drug, however, does not cure and avoid the dispersion of virus to other people. It simply allays the symptoms of this infection.

What are the common conditions in which Valacyclovir prescribed?

This medicine is generally used to treat herpes infection, cold sores, shingles, and genital herpes in adults. It is also used to cure cold sores in children of 12 years of age or above. While it can be suggested to treat chickenpox in children of age 2 years or more.

Common Conditions

How should I take Valacyclovir?

Strictly follow the instructions on the prescription label and take it in the recommended amounts and for advised duration only. Initiate the administration of this drug as soon as you notice the first signs of infection like burning, blisters, or tingling sensation. The drug may not be effectual if you take the medicine 1 or 2 days after the onset of initial symptoms. Remember, there are particular herpes infections which require longer time to be treated relatively.

Do not discontinue the medicine without your doctor’s advice, even if your symptoms start to show improvement. This is because the signs of infection may ameliorate even before the condition is cleared fully. Skipping the doses may intensify the danger of becoming resistant to this medicine.

The medication can be used along with or without food. If your child has problem swallowing the tablet, do tell your doctor. Imbibe a lot of water while having the medicine to enable the kidneys to function effectively. Keep the lesions caused by herpes, clean and dry and clad in loose clothing to avoid irritation in them. Place the drug at room temperature in a cool and dry place.

Intake of Valacyclovir

When you should not take Valacyclovir?

Before taking this drug, apprize your doctor if you have weak immunity, HIV/AIDS, kidney condition (If you are on dialysis), kidney or bone marrow transplant. This medicine can be malicious to kidneys, and effects may intensify when administered with other medicine potent of harming the kidneys. Inform your doctor about all the medicine you are currently using. The doctor may adjust doses or may recommend special medical tests while you are using other medications along with this drug. The medicine does not preclude the proliferation of the virus to others around you and since herpes infection is contagious, so you are likely to infect others as well.

Discontinue the usage of this prescription and visit your clinician if you notice any grave side effect which can impact your red blood cells. You will see symptoms like fever, easy bruises, red spots on skin (unrelated to chickenpox or herpes), bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, paleness of skin, weakness, fainting, urinating less or not too frequently or not at all. Do not take this drug if you are hypersensitive to it or acyclovir (Zovirax).

To ensure the medicine is safe for you, inform your doctor if you suffer from any of the following:

  • kidney condition (or if you are on dialysis);
  • HIV/AIDS, or other diseases that can deteriorate the immune system; or
  • a history of kidney transplant or bone marrow transplant.

It is yet undiscovered if this medicine will damage the foetus. However, herpes virus can be transported from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. In case you have genital herpes, it is crucial to avoid herpes lesions during your pregnancy so that you do not get a genital lesion during childbirth. This drug can commune into breast milk and may impact a suckling baby. Apprize your doctor if you are breastfeeding a child. Never administer the drug to a child without a doctor’s permission.

Avoid Valacyclovir

What are the possible side effects of Valacyclovir?

If you experience symptoms of allergic response to the medication such as hives, shallow breath, inflammation in your face or throat, seek immediate medical attention.

Tell your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • misperception, aggression, or shakiness or unsteady;
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are unreal);
  • difficulties with speech;
  • a seizure (convulsions); or
  • kidney issues: little or no urination, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling fatigued or short breath.

Major Side Effects

Discontinue the medicine and visit your doctor if you notice any of the below-mentioned signs or a grave side effect that may harm your red blood cells:

  • fever, pale skin;
  • unusual bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums);
  • red or pink urine, little or no urination;
  • red spots on the skin (not related to herpes or chickenpox);
  • feeling weak or exhausted;
  • stomach ache, bloody diarrhea, vomiting; or
  • inflammation in face, hands, or feet.

Signs of Low RBC Count


Side effects are usual occurrence in folks who are 65 years old or more.

Usual side effects may comprise:

  • nausea, stomach pain; or
  • headache.

Common Side Effects of ValacyclovirThis is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about other side effects. Avoid copulation or use a latex condom to avoid acquiring the infection. Avoid letting your lesions come into exposure with other people. Do not touch your eyes after touching your lesions. Clean your hands regularly to avoid the risk of spreading the contamination of herpes. Avoid sharing this drug with another person, even if they have the same symptoms as you have.

What to do if I miss the dose?

Take the medicine as per the schedule. And in case you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost the time of your next dose, skip the missed one. Avoid taking two doses at a time to compensate for the missed dosage.

If you miss the doseCommon Drug Interaction with Valacyclovir

This medicine can deteriorate your kidneys. This impact is even more intensified when the medicine is used with other drugs potent of harming the kidneys like antiviral drugs, chemotherapy, medications for bowel disorders, medicines for hypertension, medicines to preclude organ transplant rejection, injectable osteoporosis medication or pain or arthritis medicines (consisting Motrin, Advil, and Aleve).

Common Drug Interaction with Valacyclovir

Other medications may interact with this medicine, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements. This is not the complete list of drug interactions.

Bottom Line

Valacyclovir is recommended to treat shingles, cold sore herpes infection, chicken pox and other conditions in adults and children. Being a strict prescriptive medicine, it should not be taken without doctor’s consultation. Strictly follow all the instructions while using this drug else serious consequences may ensue.

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