Valacyclovir is used to treat herpes zoster (shingles) and genital herpes. It does not cure herpes infections but decreases pain and itching, helps sores to heal, and prevents new ones from forming.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Side Effects Of Valacyclovir
Valacyclovir may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- diarrhea or loose stools
If you experience any of the following side effects, call your doctor immediately:
- the yellowness of the skin or eyes
- blood in the urine
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking valacyclovir:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir, or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially cimetidine (Tagamet), probenecid (Benemid), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease, problems with your immune system, human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking valacyclovir, call your doctor.
Dosage Of Valacyclovir
Valacyclovir comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 8 hours (three times a day) for 7 days to treat shingles. To treat genital herpes it is usually taken twice a day for 5 days. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take valacyclovir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Use this medication as soon as possible after symptoms appear.
Continue to take valacyclovir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking valacyclovir without talking to your doctor.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to valacyclovir.
Do not have sexual intercourse when you can see the genital herpes lesions. However, genital herpes can be spread even when there are no symptoms.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the valacyclovir, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.