Prevent and treat genital herpes with Valacyclovir (generic Valtrex)

Valacyclovir is a common antiviral drug in the USA that is prescribed to treat infections caused by specific types of viruses, including herpes viruses. If you have been prescribed this medication for the first time, you should read the patient information leaflet before you try the medication. You must also read the leaflet again every time you opt for a refill.

Medzino can provide a prescription for Valacyclovir through a licensed physician. The medication is sent to you from a pharmacy located in your state.

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Written by Dr Helen Okoye, MD

Information last reviewed 07/12/19


What is Valacyclovir?

Valacyclovir is prescribed for treating different types of viruses such as chickenpox (in children), shingles, cold sores and genital herpes in adults. Valacycloir works in several ways:

  • It helps prevent the growth of viruses
  • It helps sores to heal faster
  • It prevents the formation of new sores,
  • It reduces itching or pain
  • It decreases the length and severity of outbreaks.

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for infection with the herpes virus, so whilst Valacyclovir can treat many of the symptoms, it cannot cure the disease.


Active ingredients

Each caplet of Valacyclovir (Valtrex) contains the active ingredient, valacyclovir hydrochloride that is equivalent to 500 mg or ½ gram valacyclovir.

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in Valacyclovir are colloidal silicon dioxide, carnauba wax, FD&C Blue No. 2 Lake, crospovidone, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, polyethylene glycol, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, titanium dioxide and polysorbate 80.

Note - The inactive ingredients may vary between different brands of generic drugs.


Valacyclovir dosage

The correct Valacyclovir dosage depends upon several factors:

  • your age,
  • why you need the medicine  
  • the severity of your condition.

For instance, if you are an adult taking Valacyclovir for the treatment of genital herpes after the first outbreak, you can take 1000 mg two times a day for ten days. But if you are taking Valacyclovir for preventing outbreaks of genital herpes, you need only 500 mg twice a day, for just three days. It is always advised to let a doctor decide on the dose, especially in the case of children. In case you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If it’s time for the next dose, simply skip the previous dose. 

How to take Valacyclovir

The dosing and duration of treatment varies depending on what your doctor is treating. For example the duration of treatment for cold sores is much shorter and the duration of treatment for genital herpes. It is important to take the entire length of treatment prescribed.

Valacyclovir can be taken with or without food. However, if stomach upset occurs, take it with meals.  

Side Effects

Valacyclovir Side Effects

The common side effects of Valacyclovir are:

  • Feeling empty or sad
  • Discouragement
  • Feeling tired
  • Lack of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Trouble in sleeping
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Trouble in concentrating

The rare side effects of Valacyclovir include the following:

  • Chills
  • Chest pain
  • Black or/and tarry stools
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Reduction in frequency or output of urine
  • Headache
  • Lower back pain
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Side pain
  • Yellowing of eyes or skin
  • Less mental alertness or shortness of breath

Some other side effects might also occur. If you notice any other side effects or any of these side effects become severe or painful, it is smart to contact a doctor immediately.

Drug Interactions

Any drugs that can cause kidney problems, including drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, should be avoided when you are on valacyclovir. Valacyclovir is very similar to acyclovir. Do not use medications containing acyclovir while using valacyclovir.

It is highly possible that all the drug interactions or adverse effects are not listed here. Please talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about all medications you use to get the correct advice.


The only contraindication to Valacyclovir is an allergy to the medication or any of its components.


Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.

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