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Valtrex Information For Patients

Common Valtrex Questions and answers:

Q: What is Valtrex used for
A: Valtrex has three main uses:
1 - Cold Sores
2- Treatment for genital herpes (preventing it, treating the initial outbreaks of it and treatment of herpes episodes.
3 - Treatment of herpes Zoster.

Q: Are there drug interactions associated with Valtrex?
A: Some drugs may interact with Valtrex and cause dangerous side effects or increase or decrease the effectiveness of the drug.

Probenecid (Benemid) and cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet HB) may interact with Valtrex and increase its effects. If you're on either of these medications, your Valtrex dosage may need to be changed or you might need special monitoring.
See Also> Click Here for Valtrex Drug Interactions (WebMD)

Q: What are the main side effects of Valtrex?
The most common side effects associated with Valtrex are gastrointestinal upset, like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation or abdominal pain. There is also a possibility of headaches, dizziness or tremors (shaking).  If you have any side effects that seem unusual or bother you, talk to your doctor about them.
See Also> Valtrex Side Effects (from Rx List)

Q: What are common Valtrex warnings
A: There are several warnings for people who are considering taking Valrex.  First, like with any medication, if you have an allergic reaction, get immediate medical help.

An allergic reaction would be problems breathing, swelling of the throat, lips, tongue or face, and hives (rash). Anybody who is allergic to acyclovir (Zovirax) should avoid taking Valtrex.

People with immune system problems:
People with problems with their immune systems should discuss their health with their doctor before taking Valtrex. Immune system problems could be HIV, certain cancer therapies, and organ transplants such as bone marrow or kidney transplants.

People with kidney problems:
People with kidney problems are more likely to get side effects or even more kidney problems from taking Valtrex. Talk to your doctor about your kidney problems. You may need to take a lower dose to minimize the side effects.

Prices seem to vary a great deal, depending somewhat on how high your dosage is and how many pills you order at once. Consider expiration dates before buying too many at once. Comparison shopping would be a good idea because prices vary so much.

Mark sure you are dealing with a reputable merchant. Avoid merchants that are not located in the United States or Canada.

Don't buy Valtrex from places like Asia, India or South America or the Caribbean. These places have poor quality control and you can not be sure what you're getting if it gets to you at all.

Q: Have there been any Valtrex Recalls?
A: There are no current Valtrex recalls at this time.
See Also> Click Here To Double Check For Valtrex Recalls

Q: Who should not take Valtrex
A: People who have advanced HIV or AIDS, people who have had a bone marrow transplant, or people who have had a kidney transplant must not take Valtrex.  People with these conditions could develop a serious blood disorder called " thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic anemia".
See Also>" Who should not take Valtrex (from WebMd)

How much does Valtrex cost?
A: Valtrex is very expensive.  If you buy it from a drugstore like Walgreen's or CVS the 500 mg pills cost about $8.00 apiece. The 1,000 mg pills cost about $12.00 apiece.  If you require Valtrex for a year of suppressive therapy, this will cost close to $3,000.
See Also> Valtrex Cost Comparison Shopping

Q: : Does Valtrex Have a program where I can get free pills or a discount on Valtrex?
A: : Valtrex did have a program called "Daily Advantage", whereby you could have saved up to $120.00 on your next 12 prescriptions for Valtrex. The program expired at the end of 2009.  

Q: Is Valtrex OK to take if you are pregnant?
A: If you are pregnant or may become pregnant while taking Valtrex, talk to your doctor. Valtrex has been classified by the FDA as a category B medication. It isn't expected to be harmful to an unborn baby, but all those effects aren't completely known, so, again, talk to your doctor.

Q: If you are breastfeeding, can you take Valtrex?
A: The Valtrex can pass into your breast milk and may hurt your baby.  You should discuss this with your doctor before you take Valtrex.

Q: Should you take it on an empty stomach? or should you take it with food?
A: It doesn't matter; you can take it without regard to meals.

Q: Where can I find scientific information about Valtrex?
A: Many Doctors, Pharmacists and Nurses and other medical professionals get their Valtrex information from the following websites: (official home page from GlaxoSmithKline). There's a lot of information here about dealing with genital herpes and on taking Valtrex.

Valtrex Prescribing Information from RxList Valtrex Prescribing Information. This is a detailed list of information regarding Valtrex. This is what your doctor reads when he or she makes a decision about prescribing products like Valtrex.

Scientific Papers on Valtrex--From the National Library of Medicine. This is designed for doctors, pharmacists and scientists. These papers use highly technical language.

Valtrex For Cold Sores:

I have suffered from cold sores since I was a little kid.  I have tried everything to treat the cold sores.  I tried, Chap Stick, Campo Phenique, and many others.  Nothing ever worked until I tried the Valtrex.

Usually, I get them close to the corner of my mouth or all the way in the corner of my mouth itself.

When I first tried the Valtrex for cold sores I was couldn't believe it.  I was amazed how fast Valtrex worked - it was like magic. 

When they happen in the corner it is very painful and it takes a long time to heal.

This is embarrassing especially when you are going on a date.  If you have a cold sore, you can forget about a goodnight kiss.

I started taking the Valtrex as soon as I felt the little tingling sensation- before the cold sore broke the surface.  If you have a cold sore, you take 2,000 milligrams (2 grams) twice a day for one day.

By the time I took 2 pills, within 12 hours, the cold sore went away and never broke the surface.  As a pharmacist, I always recommend Valtrex because I used it myself and I got good results.

Had I not taken the Valtrex, I would have been stuck with an ugly, painful cold sore for at least 10 days, a lot longer if it was in the corner of my mouth.

There are a couple of things to remember - you need to take the Valtrex pills BEFORE THE COLD SORE BREAKS THE SURFACE.  If you already have the fever blister it is too late. 

Valtrex taken properly prevents the cold saw from happening, but it is not very useful if you take it after the little blisters are already there.

Cold sores are sometimes called fever blisters, and are sort of ugly blisters on the lips, mouth, and tongue.

They can be painful, though in my experience they're more irritating and unattractive. Typically kids get this under the age of seven.

I got them whenever I got the cold or flu up until my 20s, but it's been quite a few years since I've had a full-blown cold sore. They're not caused by any kind of sexual contact, but rather, are latent in your body.

That means they're inactive or asleep, and when you get sick, your immune system doesn't keep them in control and they start to grow, causing the blisters.

Generally they'll go away on their own without medication, but Valtrex can be used to treat them by taking a dose as soon as symptoms start.

Valtrex is a drug that works against the types of viruses that cause genital herpes, cold sores and shingles.

Common questions and answers regarding using Valtrex for cold sores

Q: What is the dose Valtrex for cold sores?
A: When you take Valtrex for cold sores the dose is 2,000 mg (2 grams) as soon as you feel the warning signs of a cold sore (a spot on your lip that tingles, itches or burns) and another 2,000 mg 12 hours later.

Q: What happens if the cold sore has already popped through and you have a full blown cold sore?  Will the Valtrex work?
A: It is not very effective at treating cold sores once they have broken the skin surface. 

Q: If you have a cold sore, how does Valtrex compare to over the counter products such as Abreva, or Tanac or Campho-Phenique?
A: There is no comparison.  The over-the counter remedies do not even come close to the effectiveness of Valtrex.

Q: How much does it cost when you use Valtrex for cold sores. 
A: It will cost you in the neighborhood of $40.00.  ( You need four 1,000 mg pills that cost $10.00 each).

Valtrex For Genital Herpes

Treating the initial outbreak with Valtrex:

Genital Herpes are painful and embarrassing.  The only way to be safely treated for genital herpes is by a physician.

The first time you're treated for genital herpes with Valtrex, you usually take Valtrex (1 gram) every 12 hours (twice a day) for 10 days.

Take the full Valtrex prescription, even if you feel better and the symptoms improve. The symptoms may improve before your body's immune system has had a chance to fully fight the infection.

Valtrex comes in a caplet form that you swallow. They're blue with white writing on them. Take them as directed by your doctor. You should drink a full glass of water with the pill.

You don't have to eat at the same time you take Valtrex, but eating at the same time might keep you from getting an upset stomach. The dosage for each type of treatment should be decided by your doctor, but these are the general guidelines. 

Even during treatment, you can infect other people with herpes. Valtrex itself does not prevent the spread of genital herpes.

Valtrex doesn't cure the infections, but it can slow down the viruses and prevent them from spreading. This gives your body's immune system a chance to kick in and fight off the infections itself.

Treating Genital Herpes Reoccurrences

There is also something called outbreak therapy. Outbreak therapy is if, at the first sign of an outbreak or infection, you start taking the medicine and treat each outbreak individually.

If you have genital herpes that keeps coming back and you've already had that initial 1-day treatment, you usually take 500mg of Valtrex twice a day for 3 days.

Taking Valtrex To Prevent Chronic Outbreaks Of Herpes

Some people who have chronic recurrence of genital herpes may be on what is called chronic suppressive therapy, which means you take Valtrex all the time. Generally this is 1 pill a day (1 gram, or possibly 500 mg).

This is called suppressive therapy, which basically means you try to knock down the virus so your immune system can do its job.

Valtrex For Shingles

Valtrex is generally given 3 times a day for 7 days to treat shingles. Typical dosage is 1 gram. It works best if started within 48 hours of the start of the rash.

Take the full Valtrex prescription, even if you feel better and the symptoms improve. The symptoms may improve before your body's immune system has had a chance to fully fight the infection.

Shingles typically last 3 to 5 weeks. After a few days the skin along the rash gets blistered and looks a lot like chickenpox.

How does Valtrex work?

Valtrex is a powerful drug whose main ingredient is a chemical called "valacyclovir hydrochloride" and it's called an anti-viral because it attacks viruses and keeps them from replicating. Replicating is a scientific word for duplicating itself.

A virus is made up of a little bit of DNA in a protein capsule. It sneaks into whatever cells it attacks and injects the DNA into the cells' DNA, making the cell do the work of making more viruses.

What Valtrex does it sort of stand in front of the cell DNA and block the virus from taking over. It also stops a chemical called "viral DNA polymerase." DNA polymerase is needed for viruses to copy themselves.

When you take a Valtrex pill, it dissolves in your stomach and gets absorbed into your bloodstream. Your body changes the active ingredients of Valtrex into a chemical called "acyclovir."

The acyclovir travels through your bloodstream until it finds viruses that match its chemical makeup--herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2), and varicella-zoster virus (ZVV).

If you take Valtrex pills according to the manufacturer's directions, the Valtrex will slow down and possibly stop the spread of the infection, giving your immune system a chance to kick in and take over.

Comparison Shop For Valtrex - Our editors have assembled 20 of the top sites that sell Valtrex.  Make them compete for your business.  Visit these sites to find the best price for Valtrex (official home page from GlaxoSmithKline). There's a lot of information here about dealing with genital herpes and on taking Valtrex. Valtrex Prescribing Information. This is a detailed list of information regarding Valtrex. This is what your doctor reads when he or she makes a decision about prescribing products like Valtrex.

Scientific Papers on Valtrex--From the National Library of Medicine. This is designed for doctors, pharmacists and scientists. These papers use highly technical language.

Please Note: Valtrex is a registered trademark of GlaxoSmithKline, Inc. This site is not involved in any way with GlaxoSmithKline or the marketing of Valtrex.

Although cold sores are not especially dangerous to people with suppressed immune systems, shingles can be life-threatening. Anybody whose immune system is suppressed should discuss any and all medications they are taking with their physician and alert their doctor to any illnesses or infections they get as soon as possible.

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This Page Last Updated: 03/11/2010

Pictures of Valtrex:

Valtrex 500mg & 1g pills

Figure 1: 500 mg Tablets
Figure 2: 1 Gram Tablets*
*1 gram = 1,000 mg

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