Genital Herpes Treatment


(same active ingredient as 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 your prescriber. 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.

How safe is Valacyclovir?

Valacyclovir has gone through extensive clinical trials, has been approved by government healthcare agencies worldwide, and has been used to treat herpes for over two decades. It’s a safe treatment for most people to use but remember all medications can have side effects.


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

Other common questions

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).

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 a doctor of healthcare professional in this instance.

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.

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.

Valacyclovir 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.

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.

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