Valtrex (Valaciclovir) for Herpes, Shingles and Chickenpox: Use, Efficacy, Dosage, Precautions, Side Effects
- General Information on Valtrex and Its Usage
- Proper Use of Valtrex: Timely Treatment, Drinking Water, Regular Intake
- Valacyclovir Dosage: Individual Approach
- Valtrex Pharmacology: Mechanism of Action
- Side Effects, Their Severity and Symptoms
- Warnings and Precautions: Kidney Problems, Pregnancy, Alertness, Infection Transmission
- Valtrex Drug Interactions
- Reviews for Valtrex – the Customers’ Experience
- Ordering Valtrex Online at My Canadian Pharmacy
General Information on Valtrex and Its Usage
Valtrex is a brand name of a medication with valacyclovir as an active ingredient, it’s available as a generic product as well. This drug is antiviral, and its action is aimed at stopping the growth of certain viruses’ types, thus treating infections caused by these viruses. However, one cannot completely cure these infections with valacyclovir. The drug decreases itching/pain, the outbreaks’ length and their severity; it allows the sores to heal faster and prevents new sores from forming. The medication also helps patients with frequent outbreaks to have fewer future episodes. But the treated viruses continue living in the patient’s body.
Valtrex is used to treat health problems caused by different types of viruses:
- for treating cold sores around the mouth (herpes simplex), for treating shingles (herpes zoster) and chickenpox (varicella zoster)
- for treating genital herpes
- for preventing other types of viral infection in some patients (for example, cytomegalovirus), when an attending doctor considers such prescription appropriate
Proper Use of Valtrex: Timely Treatment, Drinking Water, Regular Intake
Valacyclovir is usually taken orally with water, with or without food. To lower the risk of side effects and to be well hydrated, it is recommended to drink more fluids while using the medication.
For best results and for your safety, follow your doctor’s prescriptions and recommendations. The doctor determines the length of treatment and the dosage taking into account your medical condition, infection type, and response to treatment; when it comes to children with chickenpox, weight is also an important factor. If there’re any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them.
The studies have shown that patients who took Valtrex quickly (within a couple of hours after noticing the first symptoms of the cold sore), were more successful in treatment with Valtrex. Their cold sore episodes were in general by at least one day shorter in comparison to those who didn’t take the medicine. However, people who didn’t take Valtrex and those who received delayed treatment, found themselves at the same level.
Here are some tips on the proper consumption of Valtrex:
- when you see that you’ve got a cold sore, take the medicine as soon as possible
- don’t exceed the amount of tabs that you’re prescribed
- take the full prescribed Valtrex amount – don’t stop taking it abruptly at your own discretion
- don’t change or skip your doses without the doctor’s approval
- if you’ve missed a dose, take it when you remember, and the next dose according to the schedule; however, if it’s already time for the next dose, it’s better to take it at its regular time – don’t take two doses together
- in order to not forget about the necessity to take the drug, take it at the same time daily
- inform the doctor in case your condition gets worse or persists
Valacyclovir Dosage: Individual Approach
Valtrex comes in the form of oral tablets, in 1-gram and 500-milligram strengths. The individual dosage is determined by the doctor in each specific case and may be adjusted based on the information about the renal function.
The recommended dosage for treating herpes labialis in adults and 12-year/older children is 2 g a day (taken with 12 hour interval); for treating herpes zoster (causing chickenpox) – 1 g a day during a week. Initial episode of genital herpes is treated with 1 g a day for 10 days, recurrent episodes – with daily 500 mg for 3 days. Immunocompetent patients with several recurrences annually can receive suppressive therapy with 500 mg – 1 g a day.
11-year/younger children with cold sores (herpes labialis) are not recommended to be treated with Valtrex, though it’s possible to use the drug for treating chickenpox in 2-year/older children. Children older than 2 years can receive 20 mg per 1 kg of their weight for 5 days to treat chickenpox; efficacy and safety of Valtrex in children under 2 years are not established.
Valtrex Pharmacology: Mechanism of Action
Valacyclovir gets rapidly absorbed and metabolized by liver. Hepatic and intestinal metabolism makes it convert to acyclovir, after this conversion the drug bioavailability makes nearly 55%. Wide distribution of acyclovir throughout the body takes place, including muscles, spleen, kidney, liver, lungs, brain, cerebrospoinal fluid, uterus and vagina. In adult patients with normal renal function acyclovir eliminates within 2.5-3.3 hours, in patients with renal disease – within up to 14-20 hours. Urine excretion is 89%.
Valtrex Side Effects, Their Severity and Symptoms
Remember that if you have been prescribed this drug, this means your doctor has considered the benefit greater than the risk of experiencing adverse effects. Anyway, if any of them occurs to you (especially a serious one), if it persists or worsens, tell your doctor/pharmacist right away to get timely medical help. The below list of possible adverse effects is not complete, you may experience some individual reaction.
- elevated alanine transaminase;
- elevated aspartate transaminase;
These ones are less common (1-10%):
- abdominal pain/pain in the stomach;
leukopenia In very rare cases (<1%) the patients may experience:
- Visual disturbances;
Serious side effects are rare and can be identified by certain symptoms.
|Serious adverse effect||Symptoms|
|Low blood cell counts||Extreme tiredness, increased exposure to infections|
|Problems with nervous system||Unusual behavior, mood/mental changes, aggression, depression, agitation, confusion, hallucinations, problems with speaking, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat seizures, unsteady/shaky movements, loss of consciousness, coma|
|Kidney failure||Tiredness, back pain in the area of kidneys’ location, difficulty with making urine, bloody/dark urine, fever, severe abdominal pain,|
|Serious allergic reaction||Problems with breathing, severe dizziness, swollen throat/mouth, face/throat/tongue itching, rash|
It should be noted that serious disorders caused by taking Valtrex are more likely to occur in those patients who have a weakened immune system and related conditions such as HIV disease, kidney transplant, bone marrow transplant.
Warnings and Precautions: Kidney Problems, Pregnancy, Alertness, Infection Transmission
Certain patients should be cautious with taking Valtrex. The doctor has to know about all your health conditions, allergies (to valacyclovir or anything else) and troubles. Thus, you should tell if you have kidney damage/failure, because in this case the appropriate Valtrex dosage for you may be lower. Discuss the possible methods of treatment, including drug-free and over-the-counter drug options for treating your cold sore or other problem. If the doctor comes to a conclusion that Valtrex is a good choice for you, you can start taking it.
Find out about inactive and auxiliary ingredients that the medicine may contain, and whether you’re not allergic to them. A pharmacist/a doctor can help you.
You should inform the doctor about the antiviral vaccinations/immunizations you’re going to have, and not to do it without his/her consent.
Because of the dizziness Valtrex sometimes may cause, it’s recommended to abstain from driving, using machinery, or doing anything requiring alertness. It’s better to limit alcohol consumption.
Though the studies have yet showed no risk for the fetus, pregnant women should use valacyclovir with caution and only when it is clearly needed, as well as breastfeeding women – the medicine is excreted into breast milk. The benefits and risks should be discussed with the doctor.
Older people may be more sensitive to the Valtrex adverse effects, especially kidney problems (urine amount, etc.) or mood/mental changes, so the dosage for them should be lower.
Since the cold sores can easily spread, avoid touching them (and wash your hands after it) and closely physically contacting with other people (kissing, hugging). Better wait until the cold sore is healed.
If you have an outbreak of genital herpes, better avoid having sexual contacts for this period to protect your partner, because the virus can be spread even in the absence of symptoms. Each time during sexual activity use effective barrier methods such as condoms. Your pharmacist or doctor can give your more details on the topic.
Valtrex Drug Interactions
Remember that the drug’s efficacy can be affected by its interactions with other drugs consumed by you, and the risk of side effects can increase. So share a list of products used with your doctor, including herbal, prescription and nonprescription products. Don’t change the dosage or stop intake of any medicine and don’t start taking new ones until getting a doctor’s approval.
The list of medicines that may negatively interact with valacyclovir or may require dosage adjustment includes:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (naproxen, ibuprofen, etc.) and others able of causing kidney problems (antibiotics injections, methotrexate, immunosuppressant drugs, lithium, antiulcer drugs)
- antigout drugs (tenofovir, cidofovir, foscarnet, adefovir)
- other antiviral drugs; products containing acyclovir, such as drugs for herpetic Infections (since valacyclovir is converted into acyclovir in the body, there can be an overdose)
Often it’s not necessary to cancel other drugs and it’s enough to adjust the dosage, because many medications lead to increased levels of Valtrex in blood, and that it the main problem of the drugs combinations.
Reviews for Valtrex – the Customers’ Experience
There’re enough of positive reviews for Valtrex from the patients. There’re people with long experience of genital herpes breakouts who had insignificant results with other medicines and who say they didn’t have breakouts since they started taking valacyclovir, in case they didn’t miss the doses prescribed.
People with herpes noted that the sores started drying and closing after two days of taking valacyclovir, the others needed about two months to achieve stable results. For some people Valtrex doesn’t stop the outbreaks completely and has minimum effect, though a certain percent of them feel better with it, feel more focus/alert and sleep better. Everybody has individual reaction, and if the drug is not effective, the doctor can prescribe another one.
Those who noticed the first sign of a cold sore on the lip and took Valtrex immediately said the cold sore dried out within two days. The dosage may play the role in such situation – for example, when initial 2 grams are effective, while 1 gram is not. In case of timely treatment, many people don’t need taking the drug for more than 1.5-2 days. For other patients more days of treatment are necessary.
There’s no guarantee that the drug treatment will be effective if it doesn’t start timely, but some people with shingles who started taking valacyclovir after a week of the symptoms’ beginning, said their recovery definitely got faster after 4-5 days on the drug. Those who take Valtrex early are usually able to prevent the development of blisters and the nerve pain.
Ordering Generic Valtrex at Canadian Pharmacy Online
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