Valtrex

(Valacyclovir)

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Treats viral infections.

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Our bottom line

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.

Quick facts about Valtrex
  • Drug class: Infection
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (valacyclovir)

Upsides

  • 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.
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Downsides

  • 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).
How it works

Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is an antiviral medication that stops viruses from multiplying by preventing key steps in forming viral DNA.

Quick facts about Valtrex
  • Drug class: Infection
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (valacyclovir)

Used for

Dosage forms

  • Pill
Tried Valtrex? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Valtrex (Valacyclovir) for Shingles/Chickenpox

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  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
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  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
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  • Possible side effects
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
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Side effect rates for Valtrex (Valacyclovir)

From 95 clinical trials of Valtrex when taken for cold sores, ages 12-18yrs
  • Headache
    17%17%
    3%3%
  • Nausea
    8%8%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Valtrex.

Valtrex (Valacyclovir)
Placebo

People taking Valtrex felt side effect more

People taking Valtrex felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Valtrex (Valacyclovir)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Dehydration
    • History of kidney damage
    • Concurrent use of drugs that harm the kidneys

    Although rare, Valtrex (Valacyclovir) can seriously harm your kidneys, especially if you have a history of kidney damage. To avoid this, it is important to stay well hydrated while taking Valtrex (Valacyclovir).

Common concerns from people taking Valtrex (Valacyclovir)

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Interactions
  • Valtrex (Valacyclovir) has very few interactions with other medications.
Food
  • Worth it
    Big hassle
    Reviewed Valtrexon 12/10/2016Works excellent at suppressing virus. If you miss a dose or drink heavily you may have an outbreak. I have taken for 15+ years. Very seldom get headache as side effect.
    40
    Woman
    Genital herpes
Kidneys and liver
  • Although rare, Valtrex (Valacyclovir) can seriously harm your kidneys, especially if you have a history of kidney damage. To avoid this, it is important to stay well hydrated while taking Valtrex (Valacyclovir).