Brand Names: Valtrex
Generic Name: valacyclovir
- What is valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
- What are the possible side effects of valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
- What is the most important information I should know about valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
- How should I take valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
- What happens if I miss a dose (Valtrex)?
- What happens if I overdose (Valtrex)?
- What should I avoid while taking valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
- What other drugs will affect valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
- Where can I get more information (Valtrex)?
What is valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
Valacyclovir is an antiviral medicine.
Valacyclovir is used to reduce the chance that an adult with genital herpes will pass this virus to an uninfected sex partner.
There is no cure for herpes and valacyclovir will not prevent you from developing symptoms in the future. If you have genital herpes, your sex partner may be infected even if they have no symptoms. A medical test is the only way to accurately diagnose genital herpes.
Valacyclovir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- confusion, agitation, or you feel shaky or unsteady;
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real);
- problems with speech;
- a seizure; or
- kidney problems--little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath.
Serious side effects may be more likely in adults who are 65 or older.
Stop taking valacyclovir and call your doctor right away if you have any of the following signs of a serious side effect that can harm red blood cells:
- fever, pale skin;
- unusual bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums);
- red or pink urine, little or no urination;
- purple or red spots on the skin (not related to herpes or chickenpox);
- feeling weak or tired;
- stomach pain, bloody diarrhea, vomiting; or
- swelling in your face, hands, or feet.
Common side effects may include:
- nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
- headache; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is the most important information I should know about valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
- a weak immune system;
- HIV or AIDS; or
- a kidney transplant or bone marrow transplant.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Herpes can be passed to your baby during childbirth if you have a genital lesion when your baby is born. If you have genital herpes, it is very important to prevent herpes lesions during pregnancy. Take your medicine as directed to best control your infection.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.
Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.
How should I take valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Start taking valacyclovir as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters, or rash). This medicine may not be effective if taken after you already have symptoms.
You may take valacyclovir with or without food.
Your pharmacist may prepare an oral suspension (liquid) form of valacyclovir. Shake this suspension before you measure a dose. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Lesions caused by herpes viruses should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Wearing loose clothing may help to prevent irritation of the lesions.
Some herpes infections need to be treated for longer than others. You may need to take the medicine for only 1 day or for just a few days. To prevent recurrent genital herpes, you may need to take valacyclovir for up to 1 year. Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve.
Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully. Taking more valacyclovir than prescribed will not make this medicine more effective.
Drink plenty of water while you are taking valacyclovir to keep your kidneys working properly.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
Store the oral suspension in a refrigerator and throw away suspension any left over after 28 days of use.
What happens if I miss a dose (Valtrex)?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose (Valtrex)?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
Avoid sexual intercourse or use a latex condom to help keep you from spreading the herpes virus to others. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Avoid touching an infected area and then touching your eyes. Wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection.
Valacyclovir will not prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases other than the virus that causes genital herpes.
Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.
What other drugs will affect valacyclovir (Valtrex)?
Valacyclovir can harm your kidneys, especially if you also use certain medicines for infections, cancer, osteoporosis, organ transplant rejection, bowel disorders, or pain or arthritis (including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).
Other drugs may affect valacyclovir, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Where can I get more information (Valtrex)?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about valacyclovir.
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