Valtrex tablets contain the active ingredient Valaciclovir, it works by killing or stopping the growth of viruses. Valtrex can be used to treat infections including genital herpes.

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What is Valtrex?

Valaciclovir is a prescription-only antiviral drug used to treat outbreaks caused by the herpes simplex virus.

The herpes simplex virus is responsible for a number of different outbreaks including genital herpes, cold sores, shingles and chicken pox.

Once a person contracts the herpes simplex virus, (namely HSV-1 and HSV-2), it can lie dormant in the body for a long time without any symptoms appearing, occasionally triggering an outbreak.

Valaciclovir can help during an outbreak by reducing the spread of both strains of the virus in the body, and treat the painful symptoms that are often seen. This will allow your body time to fight the outbreak, and reduce the recovery time.

Valaciclovir should only be used as recommended by your doctor.

You should accurately provide all medical-related information on the health evaluation form when requesting the treatment, as well as reading the patient information leaflet (attached) for more detailed information on the drug.

Why use Valaciclovir?

Using Valaciclovir to treat herpes simplex has a number of advantages:

  • It can speed up the recovery time
  • It can reduce the itching and tingling symptoms that occur during the outbreak
  • It is effective against both strains of herpes simplex
  • It can reduce the number of recurrent outbreaks
  • It can reduce the discomfort of painful sores

How to use Valtrex

Valaciclovir treatment should be started within the first few days of noticing symptoms of herpes.

Valaciclovir is available in 500mg film-coated tablets

If treating for the first outbreak of herpes, the usual dose is 1000mg (2x500mg) of Valaciclovir tablets daily for the first five days, or up to 10 days if any new lesions start to appear.

For recurrent outbreaks, the course of treatment is usually shorter, ranging between 3-5 days.

Tablets should be taken at the same time each day, and any missed doses should be taken when remembered as long as it is not within a few hours of the next dose; in which case the missed dose should be left out and the next dose taken as normal.

It is important that the course should be completed even if the symptoms have resolved within a few days of starting treatment.

Side effects & precautions

Anyone with a poor immune system, pre-existing kidney or liver problems should notify the doctor prior to starting treatment on Valaciclovir.

Use during pregnancy or breastfeeding should also be discussed with the doctor prior to starting treatment.

Keeping well hydrated is important during treatment to avoid risks of dehydration, particularly in elderly patients

It is advisable not to engage in any sexual activity whilst undergoing treatment for genital herpes, as the risks of transmitting the virus to your partner is high.

As with all medications, Valaciclovir has side effects associated with its use.

These side effects are not very common, as it is a fairly well-tolerated drug overall.

Some typical side effects seen include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rashes
  • Photosensitivity to sunlight

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