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Valacyclovir

INFORMATION

Uses

Valacyclovir is used in the treatment of herpes labialis (sores around the border of the lips) and chickenpox.

How it works

Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug and belongs to class called synthetic nucleoside analogues. Once ingested, valacyclovir is converted in the body to active form acyclovir. It  works by blocking the viral DNA replication a process essential for the virus to grow and multiply. It thus stops the virus from spreading in the body.

Common side effects

Allergic reaction, Itching, Irritation of ear, Allergic skin rash, Headache, Reduced blood platelets, Stomach upset, Uncoordinated body movements, Vomiting, Constipation, Diarrhoea

AVAILABLE MEDICINE

Expert advice

  • Please ensure adequate intake of liquids to prevent dehydration while on treatment with valacyclovir.
  • Please refrain from sexual intercourse if you are diagnosed with genital herpes infection and are receiving valacyclovir treatment to avoid risk of transmission.
  • Valacyclovir can cause side effects (e.g. dizziness, drowsiness, and headache) that may affect your ability to drive or operate machines. Do not drive or operate machines till you feel better.
  • Take valacyclovir as directed by your doctor during pregnancy to prevent genital herpes blisters. The infection may be passed on to the baby during childbirth if you develop genital blisters.
  • Valacyclovir tablets can be taken with or without food.
  • Do consult your doctor before taking valacyclovir, if you have kidney or liver problems; human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or any other condition that weakens your immune system and makes you prone to infections (immunocompromised); any neurological (mental) problems.
  • Do consult your doctor before taking valacyclovir if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions

Valacyclovir

Q.Is valacyclovir the same as acyclovir?
No. Valacyclovir is the ‘prodrug' or the inactive form of acyclovir that gets converted to acyclovir in the body. Both valacyclovir and acyclovir are antiviral drugs used in the prevention and treatment of herpes virus infections

Q.Is valacyclovir the same as Valtrex?
Yes. Valtrex is the trade name for active drug valacyclovir

Q.Is valacyclovir better than acyclovir?
Valacyclovir is the ‘prodrug' or the inactive form of acyclovir that gets converted to acyclovir in the body. Both valacyclovir and acyclovir are antiviral drugs and their use in various conditions is based on clinical experience. A comparison between these two drugs cannot be drawn

Q.Is valacyclovir a narcotic/an antibiotic/steroid/contain penicillin or sulfa?
No. Valacyclovir is not addictive and does not cause drowsiness or relieve pain. It is an antiviral and has no known effect against other infections caused by bacteria or fungi. It does not have a structure or effect similar to steroids, penicillin or sulfa drugs

Q.Can I take valacyclovir for cold sores?
Yes. Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug and is effective in the treatment of cold sores (blisters on and around your lips)

Q.Can I take valacyclovir for shingels?
Yes. Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug and is effective in the treatment and shingels (painful rashes usually in the form of a strip of blisters)

Q.Can I take valacyclovir with amoxicillin/ doxycycline/ ibuprofen/cephalexin/ Bactrim/ Benadryl/ prednisone/ Tylenol?
Valacyclovir has no known serious drug interaction with amoxicillin, doxycycline, ibuprofen, cephalexin, Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim), prednisone, acetaminophen (trade name: Tylenol) and active drugs in Benadryl. Please inform your doctor about all the medications you are currently taking to avoid interactions that may reduce effectiveness of any treatment or aggravate side effects

Q.Can I take Valtrex for flu/UTI/canker sores?
No. Valtrex is the trade name for active drug valacyclovir. It is an antiviral drug and is effective in the treatment herpes virus infections. It has no known effect in the treatment of flu or urinary tract infections (UTI) or canker sores (mouth ulcers that are not due to viral infections)

Q.Can I take Valtrex for 2 days/ for life/ forever?
Valtrex is the trade name for active drug valacyclovir. The dose and duration of treatment depends on the patient's immune system (if it is active or weak), the condition being treated and shall be decided by the doctor

Q.Does valacyclovir cause itching / constipation?
Itching of skin and constipation are among the possible side effects of valacyclovir

Q.Does valacyclovir interfere with/affect birth control?
Valacyclovir has no known drug interaction with birth control pills that could affect contraception

Q.Does valacyclovir raise blood sugar?
Valacyclovir has no known effect in altering blood sugar levels

Q.Is valacyclovir available over the counter?
Valacyclovir is the ‘prodrug' or the inactive form of acyclovir that gets converted to acyclovir in the body. Acyclovir belongs to a class of prescription drugs.


Content on this page was last updated on 18 November, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)