Brand NamesValacyclovir hydrochloride
What is Valacyclovir hydrochloride
Valacyclovir hydrochloride (Valtrex) is a prescription medication that effective for treating several conditions related to infections with the herpes virus, including shingles (herpes zoster), cold sores (herpes labialis), chickenpox and genital herpes.
Side effects of Valacyclovir hydrochloride
Possible side effects caused by Valacyclovir can be:
- upset stomach
- diarrhea or loose stools
- yellowness of the skin or eyes
- blood in the urine
Valacyclovir is effective for treating herpes zoster (shingles) and genital herpes. It is very important to note that this medication is not cure for herpes infections, it only decreases pain and itching, helps sores to heal and prevents new ones from forming.
It is very important to inform your doctor before taking valacyclovir if you:
- are allergic to acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir or any other drugs
- are taking prescription and non-prescription medications, especially cimetidine (Tagamet), probenecid (Benemid) and vitamins
- have or have ever had kidney or liver disease, problems with your immune system, human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
- are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding
Valacyclovir dose for Shingles
The recommended dose for the treatment of shingles (herpes zoster) in adults is 1000 mg (1 gram) by mouth, 3 times a day, for 7 days.
Valacyclovir dose for Cold Sores
The recommended dose for treating cold sores (herpes labialis) in adults and children at least 12 years old is 2000 mg (2 grams), taken twice a day for one day. The two doses should be taken about 12 hours apart.
Valacyclovir dose for Genital Herpes
For the treatment of the first infection of genital herpes, the dose of valacyclovir is 1000 mg (1 gram), twice a day, for 10 days.
For the treatment of an outbreak of genital herpes (after the first infection), the dose of valacyclovir is 500 mg, twice a day, for 3 days.
When used to prevent future outbreaks of genital herpes, the dose of valacyclovir is 1000 mg (1 gram), once a day, every day. For people who have had fewer than 10 outbreaks of genital herpes in one year, the dose of valacyclovir may be decreased to 500 mg a day, taken in a single dose.
For people with HIV and genital herpes who have a CD4 cell count equal to or greater than 100 cells/mm3, the dose of valacyclovir used to prevent future outbreaks is 500 mg twice a day. Valacyclovir has not been studied in people with HIV who have a CD4 cell count of less than 100 cells/mm3.
Valacyclovir dose for preventing the Spread of Genital Herpes
To decrease the chance of spreading genital herpes to sexual partners, people who have had fewer than 10 outbreaks per year can take valacyclovir 500 mg once a day. Condoms should always be used, and sexual contact should be avoided while having an outbreak.
Valacyclovir dose for Chickenpox
Your child's doctor will determine the dose of valacyclovir, based on your child's weight. In general, the recommended dose for children age 2-18 years old is 20 mg per kg (about 9 mg per pound) 3 times a day for 5 days. The dose should not exceed 1000 mg 3 times daily, although this only becomes important for larger children.