Valaciclovir

Order Valaciclovir (Valtrex) for quick and effective herpes treatment

Valaciclovir tablets are an antiviral medicine that is used to treat outbreaks of oral and genital herpes. It can also be used as long-term suppressive therapy to reduce herpes outbreaks.

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Medicine Strength Quantity Price Stock
Valtrex (Valaciclovir)500mg10 tablets£32.00In Stock
Valtrex (Valaciclovir)500mg42 tablets£125.00In Stock
Valtrex (Valaciclovir)500mg84 tablets£225.00In Stock
Valaciclovir500mg10 tablets£23.99Out of Stock
Valaciclovir500mg20 tablets£33.99Out of Stock
Valaciclovir500mg30 tablets£43.99Out of Stock
Valaciclovir500mg42 tablets£52.00Out of Stock
Valaciclovir500mg84 tablets£94.99Out of Stock
Prices exclude a prescription fee. This treatment requires a quick online consultation,
which a doctor will review to determine if a prescription is appropriate.

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Information

Dr Samantha Miller

Reviewed by Dr Samantha Miller MB ChB
(2017, University of Glasgow)
GMC number: 7561464

Information last reviewed 24/01/2021

About

What is Valaciclovir?

Valaciclovir is an antiviral drug used to treat infections caused by herpes simplex viruses. It is used to treat genital herpes, cold sores and shingles. It works fast to relieve the symptoms of an outbreak, and can also be used long-term to suppress outbreaks.

How long does it take for Valaciclovir to work?

Valaciclovir works best to treat symptoms when taken within 2–3 days of symptom onset, and should be started within 5 days. Symptoms usually start to improve within 3 days of taking Valaciclovir, however, sores can take up to 3 weeks to completely disappear. Future outbreaks of herpes tend to be shorter in duration and less severe. Use of Valaciclovir when symptomatic can shorten the duration of symptoms by 1–2 days. 

Am I still contagious when taking Valaciclovir ?

Valaciclovir reduces the frequency, severity and duration of outbreaks of herpes. As herpes is most contagious when symptoms are present, the use of Valaciclovir will reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to others. However herpes can be transmitted even when symptoms are not present, so the use of Valaciclovir does not eliminate the risk of transmission. 

It is recommended to avoid sexual contact while genital lesions are present, and avoid kissing while oral lesions are present.

Valaciclovir for prevention

People experiencing recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes or cold sores may choose to take Valaciclovir tablets for a period of 6–12 months to reduce the risk of outbreaks. When used in this way, viral shedding is also reduced, which means you will be less contagious. However suppressive therapy with Valaciclovir does not guarantee you will not still experience outbreaks and it does not eliminate viral shedding completely.

Other uses of Valaciclovir

Valaciclovir can be used to treat oral herpes (cold sores), genital herpes, shingles and chickenpox.

Ingredients

Active ingredients

Valaciclovir, an antiviral medication, is the active ingredient.

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in Valaciclovir tablets may include microcrystalline cellulose, crospovidone, povidone, magnesium stearate and silica colloidal anhydrous.

Please note: Different brands may contain different inactive ingredients.

Dosage

How to use Valaciclovir tablets?

Always take Valaciclovir as your doctor has prescribed it. You should start your treatment as soon as possible. Valaciclovir tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water and you should try and take it at the same time each day. You should try to complete the entire course of medication prescribed to you. If you miss a tablet, take it as soon as you remember, however, if it is only a few hours until your next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take a ‘double dose’ to make up for a missed dose. If you are unsure, speak to your doctor.

Valaciclovir dosage

The dosage of Valaciclovir that you should take will depend on what you are being treated for. For genital herpes, the usual dosage is 500mg taken twice a day for a duration of five days. To treat cold sores the usual dose is two doses of 2000mg 12 hours apart. For shingles, the usual dose is 1000mg taken three times a day for 7 days.

Side Effects

Valaciclovir side effects

Common side effects include: 

  • Headaches
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Dizziness 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Skin reactions after exposure to light (photosensitivity) 
  • Itching 
  • Rash 

Rarer side effects include: 

  • Allergic reaction (breathing difficulty, swelling, itching, hives, rash, collapse)
  • Drowsiness 
  • Confusion 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Agitation 
  • Tremors
  • Stomach discomfort 
  • Short of breath
  • Rash
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Bloody urine 
  • Unsteadiness when walking 
  • Seizures, fits, convulsions 
  • Slurred speech
  • Altered brain function

If you experience any severe side effects or symptoms of an allergic reaction (breathing difficulties, swelling, itching, hives, rash) you should seek immediate medical attention. 
If you experience any prolonged side effects you should speak to the prescribing doctor.

Contraindications

You should not use Valaciclovir if you are allergic to Valaciclovir or Aciclovir. If you are taking any other medication, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have any other health conditions, particularly kidney or liver problems, you should inform the prescribing doctor as this medication may not be suitable. You should also inform the prescribing doctor if you are over the age of 65, or have a weakened immune system.

Drug interactions

You should inform your doctor if you are taking, have taken or are planning on taking any other medications, including non-prescription (over the counter) medications, herbal remedies, vitamins or recreational drugs.

How to deal with side effects of Valaciclovir?

Drinking plenty of water will help to prevent side effects from occurring. If you get an upset stomach, it is even more important to stay hydrated. If you get headaches you can take painkillers such as paracetamol to ease the discomfort.

Valaciclovir and pregnancy/breastfeeding

Valaciclovir is not known to be harmful during pregnancy, but due to a lack of clinical evidence, it is not usually recommended during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, there is a chance you may be pregnant, or you plan on becoming pregnant you should disclose this to the prescribing doctor. 

Aciclovir is passed into the breast milk of breastfeeding women. It is not thought to be harmful to the infant, however is not recommended to breastfeeding women. If you are breastfeeding it is important to disclose this to the prescribing doctor.

Treatment Options

Non-prescription alternatives

Herpes does not always require treatment and in fact most cases can be managed at home without medication prescribed by a doctor. There are measures you can take yourself to help your body to heal:

  • Topical antiviral creams are available over the counter without a prescription. These can be useful for oral herpes but are not recommended for treatment of herpes on the genitals. Topical antiviral creams should not be used inside the mouth, vagina or anus.
  • Use of a mild local anaesthetic cream may be useful, particularly if genital herpes is making sitting or urinating painful.
  • Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to relieve pain.
  • You should keep the area clean, using plain or salt water and avoiding soaps.
  • Application of an ice pack wrapped in a flannel to the area can help with pain. Do not apply uncovered ice packs to the skin.
  • If passing urine is painful, try urinating in the shower, or pouring warm water over your genital area at the same time.
  • You should always wash your hands before and after using topical creams. 
  • You should wash your hands before and after touching the affected area, to prevent spreading the virus to other areas, and to prevent the introduction of infection from the hands.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing and synthetic fibres during an outbreak of genital herpes, instead opt for loose fitting underwear made from natural fibres e.g. cotton.
  • Avoid sexual activity until symptoms of genital herpes have completely resolved.
  • Avoid kissing and sharing cups until symptoms of oral herpes have completely resolved.
  • If you think you might have herpes, you should get tested as soon as possible.
  • It is important to inform sexual partners if you have a history of genital herpes, as this can be transmitted to partners even when you do not have symptoms.
  • Using a condom can reduce the risk of transmission of genital herpes.

Q&A

Can Valaciclovir cause thrush?

Valaciclovir does not cause thrush. The symptoms of vaginal thrush commonly include itching, discomfort, redness and a white lumpy or creamy discharge. If you experience symptoms of thrush while you are using Valaciclovir then ask your doctor for advice as you will need a separate treatment for it.

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