(Generic version of Valtrex)
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WHAT IS VALACICLOVIR?
HOW DOES VALACICLOVIR WORK?
Valaciclovir 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.
HOW TO TAKE VALACICLOVIR
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.
Valaciclovir 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, valaciclovir 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 won’t experience any symptoms. However, when the virus is active, it can cause painful and itchy blisters around the mouth or genital area. Valaciclovir can help manage these symptoms.
Valaciclovir 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 valaciclovir if you’re allergic to valaciclovir or aciclovir, or to any of the other ingredients in the medication (check the list of ingredients in the patient leaflet provided with the Valaciclovir).
The dosage depends on your situation. If it is your first outbreak, your doctor will generally recommend taking a 500mg tablet twice a day for 5 – 10 days. For recurring outbreaks, your doctor will usually recommend taking a 500mg 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 valaciclovir 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 valaciclovir as a suppression treatment, contact our doctors to find out more.
FROM MARS provides valaciclovir 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 a doctor of healthcare professional in this instance.
Yes, it is very important that you complete your treatment. Valaciclovir only works if you take it regularly and as prescribed.
How quickly valaciclovir 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.
You should steer clear of sex when you have visible cold sores, even if you’re taking valaciclovir. 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.
Research has shown that valaciclovir 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 valaciclovir 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.
No, valaciclovir 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 Valaciclovir can help to shorten these outbreaks and make them less severe, but the herpes virus that causes them will always remain in your body. it.
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.
There are no known interactions between valaciclovir and alcohol.
As with any medication, people can experience side effects when taking valaciclovir. The most common valaciclovir 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.
Whilst taking valaciclovir it is important to drink plenty of water to stop yourself from becoming dehydrated and causing any damage to your kidneys.
Valaciclovir can make you more sensitive to sunlight and increase your risk of sunburn. You should apply sunscreen when using this medication.
Valaciclovir 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 valaciclovir or Valtrex.
The main treatments for cold sores and genital herpes all work in a similar way and have the same effectiveness. Other treatments include aciclovir or famciclovir. The main benefits of valaciclovir 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.
Yes, you do. FROM MARS is a registered UK pharmacy, start your online consultation here. Enter your medical history and symptoms. If approved, you’ll receive a treatment plan from our doctors within 2 hours and get valaciclovir shipped for free to your door the next day.
VALACICLOVIR VS VALTREX
Valtrex is a brand name medication discovered and marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, and valaciclovir is the active ingredient in Valtrex that treats cold sores.
Valaciclovir dosage and strength
Valaciclovir usually comes in 250 mg and 500 mg tablets. How much you’ll need to take, and for how long, will depend on your particular circumstances. Always take the dosage advised. If you feel your recommended dosage isn’t right, speak to us and our doctors can determine whether to change your dosage.
DO NOT take valaciclovir if:
- You are under the age of 12
- You are allergic to valaciclovir or acyclovir, or any of the other ingredients in the medication (see the leaflet in the valaciclovir packaging for a full list of ingredients)
Check with our doctors if you:
- Are over 65 years old
- Have kidney problems
- Have liver problems
- Have a weak immune system
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
The following medications can interact with valaciclovir. Tell our doctors if you are taking any of these, or if you plan to:
- Iodinated contrast media
- Immune Globulin
- Measles, Mumps, and Rubella live vaccines
- Organoplatinum compounds
- Talimogene Laherparepvec
- Tenofovir alafenamide
- Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- Varicella-Zoster Virus Vaccine
Taking other medications with valaciclovir
Inform our doctors if you are taking, or plan to take, any other medications or herbal treatments at the same time as valaciclovir. Especially the medications listed above, and any treatments for shingles, any medicines that affect the kidneys, or any treatments to help after having an organ transplant.
Who shouldn’t use valaciclovir?
Children under the age of 12 shouldn’t take valaciclovir. Adults shouldn’t take it if they are allergic to valaciclovir or acyclovir, or any of the other ingredients in the medication (see the leaflet in the Valaciclovir packaging for a full list of ingredients).
How to take valaciclovir
It’s usually taken as a tablet, which you should swallow whole with a glass of water, at the same time every day, for the number of days prescribed. It’s important to always take it exactly as prescribed. 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.
Driving and using machines
It’s recommended not to drive or to use machinery when taking valaciclovir until you’re sure you can do so safely, as there are side effects which can impact your ability to do both of these things.
As is the case with most medicines, you may experience some side effects when taking valaciclovir. Remember, people respond to medications differently meaning you might not experience any side effects. If you do, it will likely involve:
Very common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)
Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)
- Sore throat
- Skin sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity)
- Itching (pruritus)
Uncommon side effects (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)
- Shortness of breath (dyspnoea)
- Stomach discomfort
- Rash, sometimes an itchy, hive-like rash (urticaria)
- Low back pain (kidney pain)
- Blood in the urine (haematuria)
Uncommon nervous system side effects (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)
- Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
- Feeling very drowsy
- Feeling agitated
These nervous system side effects can be experienced by people with kidney problems or who have recently had an organ transplant, as well as the elderly. If that’s you, these side effects will usually diminish if you stop taking valaciclovir or if the dose is reduced.
Uncommon side effects that may show up in blood tests (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)
- A reduction of white blood cells (leucopenia)
- A reduction of blood platelets (the cells that help blood to clot)
- An increase in substances produced by the liver
Rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 1000 people)
- Kidney problems where you pass little or no urine
Rare nervous system side effects (may affect up to 1 in 1000 people)
- Impaired coordination and unsteadiness when walking (ataxia)
- Slow and slurred speech (dysarthria)
- Confusion and disturbed thoughts (delirium)
- Fits (convulsions)
- Changed in brain function (encephalopathy)
Again, any nervous system side effects usually occur if you have kidney problems or have had an organ transplant and will usually diminish if you stop taking valaciclovir or if the dose is reduced.
Side effects to look out for which indicate you’re having a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- Flushing, itchy skin, and/or a rash
- Swelling of the lips, face, neck, and throat, making it difficult to breathe (angioedema)
- A rapid fall in blood pressure leading to collapse
If the above symptoms occur quickly, it indicates you’re having an allergic reaction. Valaciclovir allergies are rare, but if you do experience these symptoms stop taking the medication and see a doctor as quickly as possible.
If you have any other concerns about the side effects of valaciclovir, contact us.
How to store valaciclovir
You should always keep valaciclovir in its packaging and in a cool, dry place (below 30°C), and out of sight and reach of children. Don’t use the medicine after the expiry date on the box. The expiry date refers to the last day of the month.
If you have expired medicine, don’t throw it out with household waste or flush it down the sink or toilet, as the medication can cause environmental harm. Take expired medications to your local pharmacy so that they can be disposed of safely.
If you have any further questions about valaciclovir, contact FROM MARS.
Is valaciclovir safe?
Valaciclovir 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.
Our medical team
DR AYSHA BUTT
MRCGP, MBBS, BSC, DFSRH, PGC
DR ASEEL HAMOUD
FRCS, NRCSI, EBO, ICC, MBCHE
MPHARM (HONS), PGCLINDIP, IPRES
Superintendent Pharmacist & CQC Care Manager
BPHARM (HONS), MRPHARMS
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Your personal data is safe with us. Pharmacy FROM MARS is a licensed pharmacy registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and is accredited for the distance selling of medicines by the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We are also registered with the information commissioner’s office – registration ZA501063.
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