What is Valtrex?Valtrex is an antiviral medication used to treat cold sores and shingles (a painful rash caused by chickenpox virus), control (and treat) genital herpes infections in adults with healthy immune systems, control genital herpes infections in patients with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and, along with safer sex practices, to help reduce the transmission of genital herpes. It can also be used to treat chickenpox for children ages 2-17 with healthy immune systems and to treat cold sores for children ages ≥12 years.
What is the most important information I should know about Valtrex?Valtrex may cause life-threatening blood disorders, especially when taken at high doses and in patients with advanced HIV disease, or those undergoing bone marrow or kidney transplants.
Use caution when taking Valtrex if you have kidney problems or are elderly. You should also use caution if you are taking any medications that can harm your kidneys. It is important to stay adequately hydrated while taking Valtrex.
Valtrex may cause nervous system side effects such as aggressive behavior, unsteady movement, shaky movements, confusion, speech problems, hallucinations, seizures, and coma. This occurrence may be more common in persons with kidney problems taking high doses or in the elderly. Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms.
It is not known if Valtrex can reduce the transmission of genital herpes if you have multiple sexual partners. Valtrex does not cure genital herpes. You should avoid sexual contact if you have open lesions or an active outbreak; however, genital herpes may be spread even if you have no symptoms of an outbreak. You should always use a condom made of latex or polyurethane whenever you have sexual contact. If your doctor advises you to take Valtrex for recurrent outbreaks, start taking it at the first sign or symptom of an outbreak. If taking Valtrex to treat cold sores, you should take the first dose at the first sign or symptom, but not for longer than one day.
Who should not take Valtrex?You should not take Valtrex if you are allergic to acyclovir or any ingredients in Valtrex.
What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Valtrex?Mention all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Valtrex. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have had a bone marrow transplant or kidney transplant, or if you have advanced HIV disease or AIDS, if you have kidney problems, are over 65 years old, if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.
What is the usual dosage?The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.
Children 2 years old to <18 years old: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose based on your child's weight.
Adults: The usual dosage is 2 g taken twice a day for 1 day, each dose separated by 12 hours.
Adults and children ≥12 years: Your doctor will prescribe you the appropriate dose based on the stage of infections, and for prevention of thetransmission of the infection.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
Adults: The usual dosage is 1 g taken three times a day for 7 days.
How should I take Valtrex?Valtrex should be taken as prescribed at the same time every day, and should not be discontinued unless directed by a doctor. Valtrex may be taken with or without food. If you are taking Valtrex to treat shingles, cold sores, or genital herpes, you should start taking it as soon as you notice any symptoms of an outbreak. Do not take more Valtrex than prescribed. If you take too much, call your doctor right away.
What should I avoid while taking Valtrex?You should avoid becoming dehydrated, so drink plenty of fluids while taking Valtrex. Do not have sexual intercourse during an outbreak. Always use a latex condom.
What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Valtrex?No significant interactions have been reported with Valtrex at this time. However, always tell your doctor about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
What are the possible side effects of Valtrex?Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.
Side effects may include: dizziness, headache, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting
Side effects in HIV-infected adults: headache, rash, tiredness
Can I receive Valtrex if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?The effects of Valtrex during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What should I do if I miss a dose of Valtrex?If you miss a dose of Valtrex, take it as soon as you remember and then return to your normal dosing schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, do not take the missed dose. Wait and take the next dose at the regular time.
How should I store Valtrex?Store at room temperature in a child-resistant container. Store Valtrex suspension in the refrigerator and discard after 28 days.
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