Treating Herpes with Valtrex
Valtrex is a brand name used to refer to Valacyclovir, which is an antiviral medication used in the treatment of infections resulting from the Herpes Simplex Virus. This Drug is prescribed for cold sores and shingles in adults and has been found to reduce genital herpes effect. In kids, the drug is prescribed for cold sores in children over 12 years and chicken pox for children over two years.
It is crucial that you keep in mind that Valtrex does not cure herpes. However, it provides relief through reducing the spread of the virus and lessening the symptoms. The drug works by boosting the body’s immune system to give it a better chance in fighting the virus resulting reduced outbreaks. It is also prescribed to treat cytomegalovirus, but this is done off-label. Valtrex was approved by FDA in 1995 and has been used ever since.
Valtrex might have more severe side effects in seniors. These effects might include mood and mental changes such as agitation and confusion, and kidney related problems. You should also know that the drug will not prevent the transmission of the herpes virus. Proper protection and care are important, especially when having sex with an uninfected person.
Avoid sexual contact when you have symptoms or an outbreak because this is when you are most infectious. Preventive measures such as the use of dental dams and condoms are essential in preventing the spread of the virus even when there are no outbreaks or symptoms.
Cold sores are easily spread through kissing, and other skin to skin contact and this means you should avoid them until the sores are healed completely.
Always talk to your doctor about any other medication that you are taking. Valtrex poses some risks to kidneys, and the situation can get worse if you are taking other drugs that cause harm to these organs. It is, therefore, important to talk to your doctor about any kidney problems such as kidney transplant, dialysis or kidney disease. You should also inform your physician before being immunized such as vaccinations for varicella virus
Valtrex and Pregnancy
Though Valtrex has not been found to harm unborn children, it is important to talk to your doctor about taking the drug during pregnancy. It is possible for herpes to pass from a mother to a child during the process of childbirth. Valtrex has, however, been found to find its way into breast milk and this can harm a breastfeeding baby. If you are planning on breastfeeding, it is crucial to talk to your doctor before taking the drug.
Side Effects Of Valtrex
Some of the common side effects that Valtrex users experience include the following:
- Stomach pain
Severe Side Effects
If you experience any of these side effects, see a doctor immediately:
- Mood and mental changes such as confusion, agitation, and hallucinations
- Problem speaking
- Unsteady or shaky movements
- A change in urine quantity
Though rare, Valtrex can cause a life-threatening condition affecting kidneys, blood cells, and other body parts. The condition is more likely to affect a person with a weakened immunity resulting from bone marrow transplant, kidney transplant or HIV.
You should see a doctor immediately if you experience any of these serious side effects:
- Dark or bloody urine
- Severe stomach pains
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of consciousness
- Sudden changes in vision
- Fast, slow or irregular heartbeats
Valtrex is an antiviral drug. It can inactivate zoster or varicella vaccine before it works as expected. This means it can void the benefits you stand to get from the vaccine. Your physician might wait until the drug is completely out of your system to administer these vaccinations. Valtrex can interact with drugs that cause kidney problems such as Naproxen and Ibuprofen.
Valtrex is similar to Zovirax or acyclovir and thus should not be taken together. Cimetidine and Probenecid are medications that affect the ability of the kidneys to flush Valtrex out of the system. This will lead to an increase of the drug in the system and cause increased side effects.
The drug can cause dizziness which is why it is a good idea to avoid alcohol since it will increase this effect. Always inform your health practitioner about the over-the-counter, nonprescription, prescription, recreational, illegal, herbal, dietary and nutritional supplements and any other medications that you might be taking. This is because these medications can interfere with the effectiveness of Valtrex or Valtrex can interfere with the other drugs.
The drug is available in the form of tablets of 500mg and 1 gram. The drug effectively works when taken with the first sign of an outbreak. A delay will significantly affect the drug’s effectiveness. You should take the medication the first time you experience a tingling, stinging or burning sensation caused by genital or oral herpes. For chickenpox or shingles, Valtrex should be taken as soon as you see a rash.
Valtrex works best when the levels in your body are constant. Take the drug at evenly spaced intervals or as the doctor prescribes. The frequency of taking the drug greatly depends on the reason you are taking it. For genital herpes, it is recommended that you take it twice a day for ten days. For shingles, you should take the drug for seven days, three times a day, and eight hours apart.
If you miss a dose, take is as soon as you remember. If when you remember is close to the next one, just skip the missed one and take the next dose. Doubling up a dose because you missed one will probably lead to overdosing or increased side effects.
In case of an overdose, call the poison help line (800) 222-1222 and if you can, see a medical practitioner immediately. Signs of an overdose include extreme fatigue, loss of consciousness, seizures, mental or mood change, and a change in urine quantity.