Valacyclovir is a popular antiviral drug in treating or managing diseases brought on by particular strains of viruses. The medication also treats shingles, most commonly caused by herpes zoster and cold sores, typically around the mouth.
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When you get infected with herpes, it moves through the skin into the nerve cells and becomes latent in most cases, hiding from your immune system in a sort of viral cold war. This infection generally has no symptoms, so you have no idea it is happening. Then something triggers a reaction in the virus, usually something that knocks down your immune response.
Common triggers include:
Exposure to sunlight
When that happens, tiny blisters begin to form in a cluster in an area near the infection as the virus reproduces. Eventually, these blisters burst and scab over, creating the distinctive vision of a cold sore. A person is most infectious at this time.
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. HSV-1 can be spread from oral to genitals by oral sex. You can even give genital herpes by touching your cold sore and genitals.
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Both infections are found in adults, but the medication is also safe for pediatric patients. In particular, doctors prescribe Valacyclovir to treat chickenpox in children, caused by the Varicella zoster virus and cold sores, most of which stem from herpes simplex.
The use of Valacyclovir is also every day in the treatment of outbreaks of genital herpes. It is possible to use it to reduce the frequency rate, particularly for people who are prone to experiencing frequent bouts.
The antiviral medication Valacyclovir works by inhibiting the growth of specific viruses. As a consequence of this, it does not eradicate viruses. The viruses, such as the herpes virus, continue to reside in the body and can cause outbreaks whenever the right conditions are present.
Therefore, treatment with Valacyclovir shortens the duration of the outbreaks and reduces their severity. It helps wounds to heal more quickly, stops new wounds from appearing and developing, and alleviates itching and pain that may be associated with the wounds. It is possible that taking this medication will also help shorten the duration of the excruciating pain that comes after wounds have healed.
Because it is available in tablet form, Valacyclovir is administered orally. A course of treatment for shingles requires that the medication be consumed once every eight hours, equivalent to three times per day for an entire week or seven days. When treating genital herpes, the medication is typically administered twice daily, for example, in the morning and again at night, for five days.
It is advisable to follow the directions found on the prescription label carefully. If you find any section you do not understand, always ask your doctor to provide an extensive explanation. Doctors recommend using this medication as soon as you notice any symptoms.
It is also recommended to continue taking Valacyclovir even after you start feeling well. Hence, do not discontinue taking the medication without consulting your doctor first.
In decision-making, remember to ask your doctor about the side effects. Consider and evaluate the risks of using the drug properly. It aids in determining whether any potential harm would outweigh any potential benefits. A choice only your doctor should make for you.
Valacyclovir is used to treat the outbreaks of genital herpes but does not get rid of the virus. Therefore, the medication will not eliminate the spread of the virus. You can still infect others even when on the drug because herpes infections are contagious.
Use protection, especially a latex condom, during sexual activity to stop the transmission of genital herpes. Keep in mind to prevent other people from touching affected regions. Do not forget to wash your hands after contacting a diseased area thoroughly. It aids in preventing the infection from spreading to other persons.
If you have used this medication and had an allergic reaction, inform your physician. Notify your doctor if you experience allergic reactions to any other classes of medications.
Do not forget to tell your doctor if you have additional allergies to particular foods, animals, preservatives, or colors. Always read the ingredients provided on the label or container of non-prescription medications or goods.
Recent research has not shown any geriatric-specific problems that would hinder the medications ability to help the elderly. Age, however, makes renal problems more likely to affect the elderly. In this situation, it is necessary to modify the valacyclovir dosage administered to seniors.
Certain medications are never taken simultaneously due to drug interactions. If an interaction is probable, one may still be permitted to take two different medications in other circumstances. Your doctor might decide to adjust the dose or take additional precautions if an interaction occurs.
When taking Valacyclovir, you must inform your healthcare professional if you take any of the drugs mentioned below. Taking Valacyclovir with any other medicine discussed below is not usually advised. However, in some cases, it is deemed necessary. If you take both drugs together, your doctor may alter the dose or change the frequency of usage of one or both medicines.
Even though Valacyclovir may be the best treatment, using it with either of the two may increase the chance of certain side effects or adjustments.
Fosphenytoin, Valproic Acid, or Phenytoin
If any the following symptoms become severe, please consult your doctor
If any of the following side effects appear, contact your doctor immediately
Yellowness of the eyes or skin
Blood in urine
If a more severe side effect develops, you and your doctor may report the case to the Food and Drug Administration. Send a report by phone (1-800-332-1088) or through http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch.
Important Patient InformationVALACYCLOVIR - ORAL (val-uh-SYE-klo-veer) COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Valtrex
IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
USES: Valacyclovir is used to treat infections caused by certain types of viruses. In children, it is used to treat cold sores around the mouth (caused by herpes simplex) and chickenpox (caused by varicella zoster). In adults, it is used to treat shingles (caused by herpes zoster) and cold sores around the mouth. Valacyclovir is also used to treat outbreaks of genital herpes. In people with frequent outbreaks, this medication is used to reduce the number of future episodes. Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug. It stops the growth of certain viruses. However, it is not a cure for these infections. The viruses that cause these infections continue to live in the body even between outbreaks. Valacyclovir decreases the severity and length of these outbreaks. It helps the sores heal faster, keeps new sores from forming, and decreases pain/itching. This medication may also help reduce how long pain remains after the sores heal.
HOW TO USE: Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking valacyclovir and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take valacyclovir by mouth, with or without food, as directed by your doctor. Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication to lower the chance of side effects. The dosage and length of treatment are based on your type of infection, medical condition, and response to treatment. For treating chickenpox in children, the dosage is also based on weight. This medication works best when started at the first sign of an outbreak, as directed by your doctor. It may not work as well if you delay treatment. For shingles or chickenpox, start taking valacyclovir at the first symptom or as soon as possible after the rash appears. For cold sores or genital herpes, start taking this medication at the first sign or as soon as you feel tingling, itching, or burning. Valacyclovir works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished. Do not change your dose, skip any doses, or stop this medication early without your doctor's approval. Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.
SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea, stomach pain, headache, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), trouble speaking, shaky/unsteady movements, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine). This medication may rarely cause a life-threatening disorder that affects the blood cells, kidneys, and other parts of the body. This disorder is more likely to occur if you have conditions related to a weakened immune system (such as HIV disease, bone marrow transplant, kidney transplant). Get medical help right away if you have any serious side effects, including: extreme tiredness, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, easy bruising/bleeding, new fever, bloody/dark urine, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, sudden vision changes, loss of consciousness, seizures. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: See also Side Effects section. Before taking valacyclovir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to acyclovir; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems. This drug may rarely make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis). Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Do not have certain immunizations/vaccinations (such as vaccines against the varicella virus) without the consent of your doctor. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially mental/mood changes (such as confusion, agitation) and kidney problems (such as a change in the amount of urine). Cold sores can spread easily. Avoid close physical contact with others (such as kissing) during an outbreak until the cold sores have completely healed. Try not to touch the cold sore. If you do, wash your hands afterward. Valacyclovir does not prevent the spread of herpes. To lower the chance of giving genital herpes to your partner, do not have sexual contact during an outbreak or if you have symptoms. You can spread genital herpes even if you do not have symptoms. Always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. This medication passes into breast milk, but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: other drugs that may cause kidney problems (including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen). Valacyclovir is very similar to acyclovir. Do not use medications containing acyclovir while using valacyclovir.
OVERDOSE: If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: change in the amount of urine, extreme tiredness, mental/mood changes, loss of consciousness, seizures.
MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
This product information is intended for United States residents only. Before prescribing, please refer to the patient information. You can view the document and also download it on your computer. You may also consider printing out a copy for yourself.
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