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Valacyclovir (Generic Valtrex) is an antiviral drug that treats the symptoms of certain viral infections. In children, it is used to treat cold sores around the mouth (caused by herpes simplex) and chickenpox (caused by varicella zoster). In adults, it is used to treat shingles (caused by herpes zoster) and cold sores around the mouth. It can also treat outbreaks of genital herpes. In people with frequent outbreaks, this medication can reduce future episodes.
Valacyclovir limits the growth of certain viruses, but it is not a cure for these infections. Between outbreaks, they continue to live in the body, potentially without any symptoms. Valacyclovir decreases the severity and length of outbreaks, helps sores heal faster, keeps new sores from forming, and decreases pain and itching. This medication may also help reduce pain while sores are healing.
All FDA-approved generics must have the same strength, dosage form, safety and effectiveness as their brand-name counterparts. All generic medications sold through Blink Health are FDA-approved.
How Do I Know If I Have a Cold Sore?
Some patients feel tingling, itching or burning sensations in the affected area before the blister(s) appear. Read more.
Does Cold Weather Cause Cold Sores?
Drastic temperature changes, in combination with cold and flu season, tend to trigger the painful blisters more frequently. Read more.
How to use Valacyclovir
Before you begin taking valacyclovir and each time you get a refill, read the Patient Information Leaflet. If you have any questions, ask your clinician or pharmacist.
Take valacyclovir as directed by your licensed medical professional, by mouth, with or without food. To lower your chance of side effects, it's helpful to also drink plenty of fluids while taking this drug.
Your dosage and length of treatment are based on your type of infection, medical condition and your response to treatment. The dosage is also based on weight, when used to treat children for chickenpox. In addition, the dose may need to be adjusted based on kidney function.
Valacyclovir will work best when you start taking it at the first sign of an outbreak, as directed by your licensed medical professional. If you delay treatment, it may not work as well. For shingles or chickenpox, start taking valacyclovir at the first symptom or as soon as possible after the rash first begins to appear. For genital herpes or cold sores, start taking valacyclovir at the first sign of symptoms, like tingling, burning or itching.
When the amount of valacyclovir is kept at a constant level in your body, the drug will work best. That's why you should take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. Taking it at the same time(s) each day can help you remember.
Continue to take valacyclovir until the full prescribed amount is finished. Do not skip, stop or change your dose without your licensed medical professional's approval.
Tell your licensed medical professional if your condition persists or worsens.
Valacyclovir Side Effects
It's important to be aware of possible side effects before you start taking a medication. Here are the listed side effects for this drug:
Nausea, stomach pain, headache, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), trouble speaking, shaky/unsteady movements, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine).
This medication may rarely cause a life-threatening disorder that affects the blood cells, kidneys, and other parts of the body. This disorder is more likely to occur if you have conditions related to a weakened immune system (such as HIV disease, bone marrow transplant, kidney transplant). Get medical help right away if you have any serious side effects, including: extreme tiredness, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, easy bruising/bleeding, new fever, bloody/dark urine, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, sudden vision changes, loss of consciousness, seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
It's also important to be aware of precautions and warnings around taking this medication.
See also Side Effects section.
Before taking valacyclovir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to acyclovir; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially if you have kidney problems.
This drug may rarely make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Do not have certain immunizations/vaccinations (such as vaccines against the varicella virus) without the consent of your doctor.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially mental/mood changes (such as confusion, agitation) and kidney problems (such as a change in the amount of urine).
Cold sores can spread easily. Avoid close physical contact with others (such as kissing) during an outbreak until the cold sores have completely healed. Try not to touch the cold sore. If you do, wash your hands afterward.
Valacyclovir does not prevent the spread of herpes. To lower the chance of giving genital herpes to your partner, do not have sexual contact during an outbreak or if you have symptoms. You can spread genital herpes even if you do not have symptoms. Therefore, always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk, but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Valacyclovir Pill Storage
Store valacyclovir away from moisture and light, at room temperature. Do not store this drug in the bathroom. Keep this and all medications away from children and pets.
Unless instructed to do so, do not flush valacyclovir down the toilet or pour it into a drain. Once it is expired or you no longer need it, ask your pharmacist or local waste disposal company how to dispose of valacyclovir.
Valacyclovir Drug Interactions
Drug interactions can increase the risk for serious side effects and can also change how your medications work. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. It's wise to keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription and nonprescription drugs, plus herbal products) and share it with your clinician and pharmacist. Do not start, change or stop the dosage of any medicines, including valacyclovir, without your licensed medical professional's approval.
Products that can interact with valacyclovir include: other drugs that may cause kidney problems (including Foscarnet and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs like naproxen and ibuprofen).
Valacyclovir is very similar to acyclovir. Do not use medications containing acyclovir while using valacyclovir.
Symptoms of valacyclovir overdose can include: change in the amount of urine, mental/mood changes, extreme tiredness, seizures and loss of consciousness.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double your dose to catch up.
Do not share this medication with others.
May include selected content from the Licensed Solutions data, included with permission and copyrighted by FDB, inc., 2014. This copyrighted material has been downloaded and Licensed data is not for distribution in professional healthcare settings. This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking any drug or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.
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