Valtrex is a drug formulated for the treatment of herpes zoster (shingles) and genital herpes. The drug can also be used to suppress outbreaks of genital herpes in both immunocompetent and HIC-infected individuals. Valtrex may be even be used to treat cold sores (herpes labialis).
Valtrex comes in the form of an oral tablet. It is taken by mouth every eight hours or three times a day for a week when used to treat shingles. If used to treat genital herpes, Valtrex is taken two times a day for five days. It is taken for one day only when used to treat cold sores. Whatever you are treating, you should follow the exact instructions given by your doctor and use Valtrex as soon as you notice symptoms. Follow through the days required for the treatment even if you feel better before its duration ends.
Inform your doctor if you are allergic to acyclovir, which is a component of Valtrex. Also tell him if you have kidney disease or any problems with your immune system. There may be cases in which dosage adjustment and close monitoring during the course of your treatment will be required. Though it is not expected to harm the unborn baby and though it is known if it passes through breast milk, it is still wise to inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Skip it if it is almost time for the next scheduled dose.
There are some serious but rare problems that can occur when taking Valtrex. These are kidney failure and problems with the nervous system. Nervous system problems refer to aggressive behavior, confusion, hallucinations, shaky and unsteady movement, seizures and even coma. It is then important to tell your doctor if you have a kidney problem as patients who experience kidney failure during Valtrex treatment are either elderly or have previous kidney problems. Call for emergency medical attention immediately in case of kidney failure and nervous system problems. More common side effects include dizziness, headache, nausea, stomach pain and vomiting. HIV-infected patients may also experience tiredness and a rash. Mild side effects include depression, period pain, low blood cell count, period pain and disparity in liver and kidney test results from previous ones.
Store Valtrex at 15° to 25°C (59° to 77°F). Make sure that the medicine is kept in a tight container away from children. Discard expired medicine immediately.
Call for emergency medical attention if you suspect an overdose. Valtrex overdose symptoms are not known but with acyclovir, which is similar to Valtrex, an overdose may result to hallucinations, kidney damage evident through decreased urine production and seizures.
Herpes infections are contagious even during treatment. So washing your hands thoroughly and frequently is important. Use of condoms or practice of celibacy can prevent the virus from spreading.