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Valacyclovir (Valtrex)



Valacyclovir (Valtrex) is an antiviral agent that works by stopping DNA synthesis within viruses. Is is commonly used to treat herpes liabilis, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, and varicella.



How to Use


Take this medication by mouth with water, it can be taken with or without food.


Take it exactly as directed, do not take it more than directed.


If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is already almost time for your next dose, take only that next dose. Do not double up on any dose.


It is important to finish the entire course of this medication. Do not stop taking it because you are feeling better unless directed by a doctor.



Important Information


Stay well hydrated while on this medication.


Inform your doctor if you do not feel that your condition is improving after one week of taking valacyclovir.


This medicine works best when it is taken as soon as possible after becoming infected. Take it as soon as possible (within 72 hours of the first signs of infection). Signs of infection include tingling, itching or pain.


Genital herpes can still spread even when the infected person dose not currently have symptoms. It is important to use of condoms because they can help decrease the chance of transmitting the disease to another person.



Be sure that your prescribing doctor is aware if you have any of the the following conditions before taking this medication


AIDS, immune system conditions, transplants of the bone marrow or kidneys, kidney disease, allergic reaction history, pregnancy, breastfeeding, trying to become pregnant.



Side effects that should be immediately reported to your healthcare provider


Allergic reactions(hives, itching, rashes, swelling of the face or mouth), trouble breathing, aggression, confusion, hallucinations, changes in balance, trouble walking or talking, stomach pain, tremors, changes in the passing of urine.



Other Side Effects


Dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting.



Adult Dose


Genital Herpes


First Outbreak: 1 gram by mouth twice daily for 10 days. It is best to start treatment within 48 hours of symptoms.


Recurrent Herpes Outbreak: 500 mg by mouth twice daily for 3 days.




1 gram by mouth once daily for 5 days.  It is best to start treatment within 24 hours of symptoms.



Genital Herpes with HIV Infection(initial and recurrent episodes)


1 gram by mouth twice daily for 5-14 days.



Herpes Liabilis


2 grams by mouth twice daily for 1 day. The doses should be separated by 12 hours.



Herpes Liabilis with HIV Infection


1 gram by mouth twice daily for 5-10 days.



Herpes Zoster


1 gram by mouth 3 times per day for 7 days. It is best to start taking this medicine within 48 hours of the onset of the rash. 



Herpes Zoster with HIV Infection


1 gram by mouth 3 times per day for 7-10 days.



Varicella with HIV Infection(uncomplicated)


1 gram by mouth 3 times daily for 5-7 days.





1. Zovirax (acyclovir capsule, tablet, suspension) [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline; 2012.


2. Valtrex (valacyclovir) [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline; 2013.


3. valacyclovir HCl oral tablets, valacyclovir HCl oral tablets{package insert]. Miami, FL: Cipla USA, Inc; 2014.


4. Valtrex (R) oral caplets, valacyclovir hcl oral caplets[package insert]. GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC, 2008.


5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, et al: Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents: Recommendations from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. MMWR Recomm Rep 2009; 58 (RR4):1-207.

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