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All about: Valacyclovir

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Generic Name: Valacyclovir Tablets (val-ay-SYE-kloe-veer)
Brand Name: Valtrex

Valacyclovir is used for:

Treating shingles (herpes zoster), cold sores (fever blisters or herpes labialis), and treating or suppressing genital herpes in patients with normal immune systems. It is also used to suppress genital herpes in patients with HIV infection.

Valacyclovir is an antiviral. It works by stopping viral replication. However, Valacyclovir does not eliminate the virus, it is not a cure. When used as a suppressive therapy in patients with normal immune systems with genital herpes using safer sex practices, the risk of spreading the infections to others is reduced.

Do NOT use Valacyclovir if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Valacyclovir or to acyclovir

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Valacyclovir :

Some medical conditions may interact with Valacyclovir . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have had a bone marrow or kidney transplant
  • if you have HIV or AIDS
  • If you have kidney problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Valacyclovir . However, no specific interactions with Valacyclovir are known at this time.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Valacyclovir may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Valacyclovir :

Use Valacyclovir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Valacyclovir by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking Valacyclovir is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • To treat cold sores, shingles, or genital herpes, start treatment as soon as possible after your symptoms start.
  • If treating an acute outbreak, continue using Valacyclovir for the full course of treatment, even if you feel better in a few days.
  • For suppressive therapy, Valacyclovir works best if it is taken at the same time each day.
  • If you miss a dose of Valacyclovir , take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Valacyclovir .

Important safety information:

  • Valacyclovir may cause dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Valacyclovir with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Safer sex practices can lower the chances of passing genital herpes to your partner. Do not have sexual contact with your partner when you have any symptoms or outbreak of genital herpes. Use a condom made of latex or polyurethane whenever you have sexual contact.
  • Use Valacyclovir with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially kidney and nervous system problems.
  • Valacyclovir should not be used in CHILDREN who have not reached puberty; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Valacyclovir while you are pregnant. Valacyclovir is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Valacyclovir , check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Valacyclovir :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; dizziness; headache; nausea; stomach pain; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); aggressive behavior; bloody or dark urine; confusion; fever; hallucinations; pale skin; pinpoint bruises; seizures; shaky movements; speech problems; unsteady movement; weakness; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Valacyclovir :

Store Valacyclovir between 59 and 77 degrees F (15 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Valacyclovir out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about this medicine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Valacyclovir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Valacyclovir . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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