Compare Zovirax vs. Valtrex

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Zovirax (Acyclovir)

Prescription only

Valtrex (Valacyclovir)

Prescription only
Treats viral infections.

Zovirax (Acyclovir) is good for treating viral infections like herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll shorten the length of a breakout.

Treats viral infections.

Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is a first choice treatment for herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll control the signs and symptoms of an outbreak.

Upsides
  • Used as a first-choice treatment for herpes, chickenpox, and shingles infections and breakouts.
  • Most people (including pregnant women) usually take the oral medication without experiencing any side effects.
  • Available as a generic, so it's relatively cheap.
  • Most people generally don't develop a resistance to Zovirax (Acyclovir).
  • Works well for most people to shorten the duration of outbreaks.
  • Available as a generic, so it's relatively cheap.
  • Valtrex (Valacyclovir) has very few interactions with other medications.
  • Works well for most people to shorten the duration of outbreaks.
  • You don't have to take this medicine as often as other antiviral alternatives.
Downsides
  • Zovirax (Acyclovir) is not a cure for herpes, chickenpox, or shingles. It will only shorten the time you have a breakout.
  • If you're taking Zovirax (Acyclovir) for herpes, you should use barrier methods (condoms) when you're having sex since you can still pass it on to other people, even if you're taking the medication and you're not in a breakout.
  • You need to take this up to five times a day, so it can be inconvenient.
  • Taking Valtrex (Valacyclovir) for genital herpes doesn't prevent you from transmitting the virus to others.
  • Finishing treatment with Valtrex (Valacyclovir) will not affect the severity and chance of getting a future herpes outbreak.
  • Elderly people are more likely to experience side effects such as hallucinations, confusion, and delerium when taking Valtrex (Valacyclovir).
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Oral suspension
  • Dissolving tablet extended release
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
Price
Lowest price
$13775.58
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Reviews
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Side effects
1possible side effects
  • Diarrhea
    3%
See more detailed side effects
2possible side effects
  • Headache
    17%
  • Nausea
    8%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Kidney damage
  • Blood disorders
    • Weakened immune system
  • Confusion
    • Elderly
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Renal effects
    • Dehydration
    • History of kidney damage
    • Concurrent use of drugs that harm the kidneys
  • CNS Effects
    • High doses of Valtrex (Valacyclovir)
    • Kidney damage
    • Elderly
  • Blood disorders
    • HIV
    • Bone transplant or renal transplant recipient
See more detailed risks and warnings