Prevent and treat genital herpes with Valacyclovir (generic Valtrex)

Valacyclovir is a common antiviral drug and popular choice for treating and preventing herpes virus outbreaks, with around 3 million annual prescriptions in the US. 

Our prices

Medicine Strength Quantity Price Stock
Valacyclovir (initial episode)1000mg14 tablets (7 days)$21.00In Stock
Valacyclovir (initial episode)1000mg20 tablets (10 days)$28.00In Stock
Valacyclovir (recurrent episode)500mg6 tablets (3 days)$16.00In Stock
Valacyclovir (recurrent episode)1000mg5 tablets (5 days)$17.50In Stock
Valacyclovir (suppressive therapy)500mg90 tablets (3 months)$50.00In Stock
Valacyclovir (suppressive therapy)1000mg90 tablets (3 months)$75.00In Stock
Prices exclude a prescription fee. Find out more
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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.

Which ingredients can cause an allergic reaction?

Valacyclovir is not associated with causing severe allergic reactions, unless specifically allergic to one of the active or inactive ingredients. If you notice a skin rash, facial swelling, trouble breathing, and dizziness shortly after taking the medication, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.


Valacyclovir dosage

Medzino can prescribe Valacyclovir to manage genital herpes at all stages. Below are the recommended treatment courses we can prescribe based on your individual circumstances;

If this is your first (initial) episode of herpes, it is recommended that you take:

  • 1000mg x 14 tablets (twice daily for 7 days) or
  • 1000mg x 20 tablets (twice daily for 10 days)

If you have previously had a herpes outbreak and this is a recurrent episode, the following treatment options are recommended: 

  • 500mg x 6 tablets (twice daily for 3 days)
  • 1000mg x 5 tablets (once daily for 5 days)

If you want to use Valacyclovir to avoid future herpes outbreaks, you should follow the guidelines for suppressive therapy:

  • 500mg x 90 tablets (once daily for 3 months) or
  • 1000mg x 90 tablets (once daily for 3 months)

Please note: The 500 mg daily dose may be less effective in patients who experience very frequent (≥10) recurrences per year (CDC [Workowski 2015]).

You should always follow your doctor's advice when taking any medication. 

How to take Valacyclovir

The dosing and duration of treatment vary 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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