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What is Valtrex?

Valtrex is an antiviral medication used to treat herpes simplex viruses, including genital herpes (herpes simplex strain 2, HSV-2) and cold sores (herpes simplex strain 1, HSV-1). It also treats varicella zoster virus (VZV, herpes zoster), which causes chickenpox and shingles. It is also used to prevent infections in those who are immunocompromised, including preventing CMV (cytomegalovirus) in those who’ve had organ transplants.

It is an oral prescription medicine in the form of capsules that can offer relief from unpleasant blisters within 24 hours as well as significantly reduce the duration of your outbreak. Treatment is most effective when used at the first sign of infection.

How does Valtrex work?

Valtrex is an antiviral drug which contains the active ingredient valaciclovir (valacyclovir hydrochloride). It is known as a prodrug meaning once ingested it is converted into aciclovir (acyclovir), its parent drug. This allows more of the active ingredient to be absorbed into the system for more effective treatment.

Valtrex specifically combats the virus by preventing a viral enzyme, known as DNA polymerase, which is responsible for the duplication of viral DNA. It thereby prevents the virus from duplicating itself and spreading from one healthy cell to another. The virus - whether it's genital herpes, cold sores and shingles – is then driven back into an inactive state quicker by the body's immune system.

When used as a preventative treatment, a steady dosage of Valtrex will successfully keep outbreaks of the viral infection at bay.

Who can take Valtrex?

If you have previously had an allergic reaction to the active ingredient valaciclovir or similar antiviral drug aciclovir, you should not take this medication.

Valtrex is not usually recommended for pregnant women so if you are pregnant, trying for a baby or think you may be pregnant, please consult your GP for an alternative. It is also not recommended for women who are breastfeeding, as traces of valaciclovir can be found in breast milk.

Some other groups of people should take caution and should speak to a healthcare professional before using this medication, including those who:

If you are not sure if any of the above apply to you, then you should consult with your GP before taking this medication.

How do I take Valtrex?

At euroClinix, a 500 mg dose of Valtrex is available to purchase. However, the course of treatment will vary depending on which herpes infection you have. Dosage will also vary whether you’re treating an initial bout or a recurrence of the infection, or whether you are just preventing infection.

The generally recommended dosages for the treatment of herpes virus infections are the following:

These are the typical dosages for most immunocompetent patients. However, your dosage may be adjusted if your lesions (blisters) persist and if you have a weak immune system, kidney problems or are over the age of 65.

You should always swallow tablets whole, with a glass of water. Do not crush, split or break tablets. Whilst taking Valtrex, it’s important you stay hydrated, as this can reduce the risk of renal (kidney) complications and other adverse effects.

If you forget to take Valtrex, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is nearly time for your next dose, skip your missed dose and continue the course from your next scheduled dose.

What are the side effects of Valtrex?

As with all prescription medications, you may experience some side effects. However, these are temporary and are mild. Common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Vomiting (being sick)
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skin reactions, a rash and itching
  • Feeling confused or agitated
  • Stomach pain
  • Tiredness

If you experience a sudden onset of any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis):

Allergic reactions are rare, but symptoms should not be ignored. You should stop taking Valtrex and seek immediate medical advice.

For a full list of side effects, including more rare and serious side effects, please refer to the patient information leaflet. It will be sent in the box with your medication, and is available to download from this page.

Does Valtrex react with any other medications?

You should always inform your prescriber if you are taking medications. Whether you take other prescription, over-the-counter medicines or herbal supplements, they may alter the effectiveness of Valtrex.

The following medications affect kidney function, and can result in drug interactions:

If you are not sure on what medications you take, speak with your GP before taking this medication. They can also confirm if Valtrex would be suitable for you.

How do I buy Valtrex online?

Valtrex 500 mg is available to purchase on prescription at euroClinix for the treatment of genital herpes, cold sores and shingles. To check you are suitable for treatment, you will have to fill out a quick and confidential medical questionnaire reviewed by one of our registered doctors. Once approved, your medication will be dispensed and dispatched discreetly to your address with next-day delivery.

Note: You must complete a short online consultation so that our doctor can ensure that the treatment is suitable for you. The above pricing should only be used as a reference. The final decision to issue this treatment lies with the prescribing doctor.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Anand Abbot MRCGP Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 02-01-2024
Valtrex information
Product nameValtrex
Active ingredient(s)Valaciclovir Hydrochloride
Trustpilot rating4.6/5
Trustpilot reviews29
AvailabilityOut of stock
DescriptionValtrex is an antiviral drug used to treat the symptoms of herpes simplex virus
ExemptionSubject to medical prescription
Available dosage500mg
ApplicationMen and women over 18 with genital herpes, cold sores and/or shingles
UsageOne 500mg tablet a day for 5 days for genital herpes, four 500mg tablets then repeat dose after 12 hours for cold sores and two 500mg tablets 3 times a day for 7 days for shingles
Drug classAntivirals
Alcohol consumptionNo influence
When breastfeedingNot recommended, ask your doctor for alternatives
When pregnantSpeak to your doctor
Valtrex reviews
Box contains 42 film-coated tablets of Valtrex® 500mg Valaciclovir Excellent 4.6 29 patients have reviewed Valtrex on Trustpilot

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