(Generic version of Valtrex)

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Valacyclovir is an antiviral medication used to manage the herpes infections that can cause genital herpes and cold sores (fever blisters). Usually taken in pill form, it helps to make outbreaks of cold sores and genital herpes less severe, clearing them up faster, and preventing outbreaks from reoccurring.


Valacyclovir disrupts the virus’ ability to reproduce, slowing its spread through infected skin, and making it easier for your immune system to tackle it. It can’t cure a herpes infection permanently, as once someone has a herpes infection, they have it forever, but it can help make outbreaks shorter and less severe, as well as reducing itching, pain and swelling. It can even prevent outbreaks from happening.


Swallow the tablet whole with water, at the same time every day, for the number of days prescribed. It’s important to always take it in just the way detailed by our doctors. If you forget to take it, do so as soon as you can unless it’s nearly time for your next dose. Never double dose to make up for a missed one.

What does valacyclovir do?

Valacyclovir is a prescription-only medicine that is used to treat the herpes simplex virus. There are two types of herpes simplex virus, HSV1 and HSV2, valacyclovir works on both types by suppressing the virus, reducing painful symptoms and preventing future outbreaks. Unfortunately, once you have caught the herpes simplex virus, you cannot completely get rid of it. The virus can lay dormant for long periods of time, during which you wont experience any symptoms. However, when the virus is active, it can cause painful and itchy blisters around the mouth or genital area. Valacyclovir can help manage these symptoms.

Who can use valacyclovir?

Valacyclovir can be used by adults, and children over the age of twelve. If you are over 65, have kidney or liver problems, or a weak immune system, make sure you check with our doctors before you take it. You can’t take valacyclovir if you’re allergic to valacyclovir or acyclovir, or to any of the other ingredients in the medication (check the list of ingredients in the patient leaflet provided with the valacyclovir).

What dose of valacyclovir should I take?

The dosage depends on your situation. If it is your first outbreak, your doctor will generally recommend taking a 500 mg tablet twice a day for 5 – 10 days. For recurring outbreaks, your doctor will usually recommend taking a 500 mg tablet twice a day for 3-5 days.

If you experience regular outbreaks, such as 5 or 6 times a year, you can be prescribed a long term daily dose of valacyclovir to suppress the virus. This daily suppression treatment should result in fewer or even no outbreaks. If you do experience an outbreak, your symptoms should be much less severe. FROM MARS offers valacyclovir as a suppression treatment, contact our doctors to find out more.

When to take valacyclovir for genital herpes and cold sores?

FROM MARS provides valacyclovir as a daily preventative treatment for patients who have already been diagnosed with herpes and had a specific number of outbreaks, to help lessen the frequency of outbreaks and reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to partners.

It can be taken as soon as the first symptoms of genital herpes or cold sores are felt, however, you should seek advice from your doctor or a healthcare professional in this instance.

Do I need to complete my treatment if the symptoms clear up?

Yes, it is very important that you complete your treatment. Valacyclovir only works if you take it regularly and as prescribed.

How fast does valacyclovir work?

How quickly valacyclovir works depends on how severe the outbreak is, the dosage used, and how quickly the medication is taken after the first symptoms are noticed. It begins working as soon as it’s in your system, with most people beginning to feel relief from their symptoms after two to three days.

Can I still have sex during treatment for cold sores?

You should steer clear of sex when you have visible cold sores, even if you’re taking valacyclovir. The herpes viruses that cause cold sores are very contagious, and they can be passed to sexual partners easily.

The two viruses that cause cold sores (herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2) can infect other parts of the body too. If you perform oral sex on a partner, or touch your face and then their genitals, or your own, you can infect them and yourself with genital herpes. It’s best to avoid sex until cold sores have cleared up completely.

How effective is valacyclovir?

Research has shown that valacyclovir is better absorbed when taken orally than other medications that contain acyclovir. It has also been shown to help clear up outbreaks of cold sores and genital herpes much quicker than when no medication is taken, as well as providing relief from the pain and discomfort caused by the blisters and preventing blisters from forming in the first place. As long as you take valacyclovir as instructed, it should help to control your symptoms. Genital herpes and cold sores cannot be completely cured, as the virus can lay dormant in your body. Taking the medication should reduce the severity of your symptoms and help prevent future outbreaks.

Will valacyclovir cure herpes?

No, valacyclovir can’t cure herpes. Currently there is no known cure for herpes, as once the virus infects you, it goes dormant in your body and hides from your immune system and any medication. Periodically the virus reactivates, causing a new outbreak of blisters. Medication like valacyclovir can help to shorten these outbreaks and make them less severe, but the herpes virus that causes them will always remain in your body.

How will I know if valacyclovir is working?

Symptoms such as painful and itchy blisters should calm down and disappear when you are taking valaciclovir. You may also notice that you experience fewer outbreaks or no outbreaks and that any future outbreaks are much less severe.

Can I drink alcohol while taking valacyclovir?

There are no known interactions between valacyclovir and alcohol.

Does valacyclovir have side effects?

As with any medication, people can experience side effects when taking valacyclovir. The most common valacyclovir side effects are relatively mild, including headaches, sickness, vomiting and diarrhea, but other more serious side effects can also be experienced. For more information on side effects, please read the patient information leaflet.

Can valacyclovir make you dehydrated?

Whilst taking valacyclovir it is important to drink plenty of water to stop yourself from becoming dehydrated and causing any damage to your kidneys.

Does valacyclovir increase your sensitivity to sunlight?

Valacyclovir can make you more sensitive to sunlight and increase your risk of sunburn. You should apply sunscreen when using this medication.

What is the difference between valacyclovir and Valtrex?

Valacyclovir is the generic name of the drug, but it can be sold under a range of different brand names, one of which is Valtrex. The medication is the same however, whether it’s called valacyclovir or Valtrex.

How does valacyclovir compare to other treatments?

The main treatments for cold sores and genital herpes all work in a similar way and have the same effectiveness. Other treatments include acyclovir or famciclovir. The main benefits of valacyclovir over other treatments is that you only need to take it twice a day to treat an outbreak. It has also been reported to cause less severe side effects.

Do I need a prescription to buy valacyclovir?

Yes, you do. Start your online consultation here. Enter your medical history and symptoms. If approved, you’ll receive a treatment plan from our US-licensed doctors within 2 hours and get valacyclovir shipped to your door.

Where can I find more information on valacyclovir and herpes?

To find out more about the herpes simplex virus, please visit our cold sores or genital herpes pages. You’ll also find lots of advice and information about the conditions and our treatments on our blog.



Valtrex is a brand name medication discovered and marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, and valacyclovir is the active ingredient in Valtrex that treats cold sores.

Side Effects

Is valacyclovir safe?

Valacyclovir is a safe medication for most people over the age of 12 to use. There have been extensive clinical trials and it’s been used for over twenty years to fight herpes. All medications can have side effects though, and valaciclovir isn’t suitable for everyone. If you experience any side affects you should stop taking the medication. We recommend reading the link below to understand all of the potential benefits and risks of the medication.

Open medical information
Info Leaflets

Before taking valaciclovir or any medication, it is important to read the Patient Information Leaflet.

open patient information leaflet

Other available
treatments for cold sores




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