Information on Tablets A-Z
Generic name: Valacyclovir hydrochloride
Why is this drug prescribed: Valtrex is used to treat herpes zoster, (the painful rash known as shingles). It is also prescribed to relieve the sores caused by genital herpes.
Most important fact about this drug: Valtrex should not be used by anyone with a weak immune system, such as those with HIV infection or those who have undergone a bone marrow or kidney transplant. Valtrex can cause serious side effects, including death, in such people.
How should you take this medication: If you are taking Valtrex for shingles, you should start using it as soon as possible after your doctor has made a diagnosis. It's best to see a doctor and start the drug within 48 hours of first noticing the rash. If you wait more than 72 hours after you first get a herpes zoster rash, the medication may not be effective. If you are using Valtrex for genital herpes, begin taking it at the first sign of an attack. The medication may not be effective if you wait longer than 72 hours after the first attack or 24 hours after a later attack. You may take Valtrex with or without food. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature.
What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue using Valtrex. Side effects may include: Abdominal pain, aggressive behavior, agitation, allergic reactions, coma, confusion, decreased consciousness, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, facial swelling, hallucinations, headache, hepatitis, high blood pressure, joint pain, mania, menstrual problems, nausea, rapid heartbeat, rash, visual abnormalities, vomiting
Why should this drug not be prescribed: Avoid Valtrex if you are sensitive to it or the similar drug acyclovir (Zovirax).
Special warnings about this medication: High doses of Valtrex have proved dangerous in people whose immune system is compromised because of HIV infection, bone marrow transplant, or kidney transplant. If your kidneys are not functioning properly, or you are taking drugs that may damage the kidneys such as Neomycin or Streptomycin, Valtrex can make your condition worse or affect your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Valtrex relieves the symptoms of genital herpes, but it is not a cure. There's also no evidence that it will prevent transmission of the disease. To avoid spreading the infection, don't have sexual intercourse during a flare-up. Valtrex is not intended for use in children.
Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If you are taking Valtrex with certain other drugs, the effect of either drug could be increased, decreased, or altered. Check with your doctor before combining Valtrex with cimetidine (Tagamet) and/or probenecid (Benemid).
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of Valtrex during pregnancy and breastfeeding have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, notify your doctor immediately. If you are nursing and need to use Valtrex, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding while using the medication.
Recommended dosage: SHINGLES The usual dose is 1 gram 3 times a day for 7 days. GENITAL HERPES The usual dose for the first attack is 1 gram twice a day for 10 days. For later attacks, the dose is 500 milligrams twice a day for 5 days. To keep the condition from returning, the dose is 1 gram once a day. If you have kidney problems, your doctor may reduce the dosage.
Overdosage: When taken by people with kidney disorders excessive doses of Valtrex have been known to cause psychological problems and kidney failure. If you suspect an overdose, check with your doctor immediately.