Valacyclovir is among the most common medications used to treat the infections caused by specific types of viruses. The medication is recommended to both children and adults. When given to children, it is used against the harsh effects of cold sores – mostly around the mouth. These symptoms are caused by herpex simplex. Children can also take Valacyclovir to treat chicken pox (caused by varicella zoster). When it comes to adults, the medication is most commonly given against oral cold sores, as well as shingles. Shingles are triggered by herpes zoster. Obviously, the treatment is individualized according to the patient’s age, infection, severity, symptoms and particular consideration – like other affections.
Valacyclovir represents a common option against the recurring episodes of genital herpes as well. It is worth mentioning that the herpes infection can’t be curred yet. Once inside the body, it will remain there for the rest of your life. Luckily, its signs and symptoms can be easily kept under control. Therefore, chances are once you experience herpes, you will face farther episodes sooner or later. The medication is useful in reducing the amount of future episodes. It belongs to the antiviral class of medications. It is not a complete cure for herpes though. It decreases the length, severity and intensity of symptoms, whether it comes to cold sores, pains or itching sensations.
When recommended by a specialist doctor, Valacyclovir can be used in the prevention of other viral infections as well.
- Usage and Recommended Dosage
- Safety Standards and Contraindications
- Potential Allergies
- Treatment Duration
- Elder and Pregnancy Considerations
- Potential Side Effects
Usage and Recommended Dosage
Valacyclovir must be taken according to the doctor’s recommendations. Read the informative leaflet coming in the package as well. If you have doubts or questions, discuss with the pharmacist or doctor right away. The medication is taken orally. It is available in tablet form. Its effects are not influenced by your meals. However, if you associate it with a heavy meal, chances are it will be absorbed way slower. Tablets should be taken whole. Avoid crushing or chewing them. If you do, the active substance is release too quickly, so you might experience a mild discomfort. Do it with a glass of water. A proper hydration is mandatory during the treatment, so drink plenty of water to keep side effects away.
Dosage and treatment length depend on the infection and severity. For the zoster infection, the dose should not be lower than 1,000mg. You have to repeat the dose three times a day, at regular intervals – once at 8 hours. The treatment should be continued for 7 days.
On the other hand, the herpes simplex infection demands a higher dose. Most specialist doctors recommend 2,000mg doses. It must be taken at every 12 hours. Small adjustments in the timing are accepted, but generally, you should do your best to stick to a strict schedule. Keep in mind that the treatment is conducted for one day only.
When treating genital herpes, the usual dose is 500mg. Take one dose at every 12 hours. If this is the first infection, take Valacyclovir for 5 to 10 days. If this is a recurring episode, the treatment is normally set at 3 to 5 days. The same medication is also used to prevent farther infections after you manage to get rid of them. The dose is 500mg a day. Some people may feel better if they take two 250mg daily doses.
Your specialist doctor is the only one who can modify the dose or adjust the treatment. Self adjustments are contraindicated. You might get a different dose if you are older than 65 or you got a weak immune system. Kidney issues may also require a different dose. The medication works best when you maintain the dose and the levels of drug inside the body at a constant level. This is why you should set alarms and make sure that you take the medication at the perfect time. Even if you feel better before the treatment is over, continue it. Often times, symptoms disappear, yet the infection is still up.
Do not take higher doses because they will not rush the healing process. Instead, you only risk taking an overdose. At the same time, if you miss a dose, ask your doctor for advice or just follow the schedule. Do not double up the next one. If you only miss it by a few hours, you can take it and readjust the treatment scheduling.
Safety Standards and Contraindications
Tell your specialist doctor what other medications you take before taking Valacyclovir. Mention all kinds of drugs, including the ones available for over the counter sale. Other than that, the medication is contraindicated if you are allergic to any of its components, especially the active substance – acyclovir. Any other allergy should be mentioned upfront.
Discuss your medical history with the doctor before taking Valacyclovir. Kidney problems require special attention. Even if you are fine now, the dose might require special adjustments. Also, remember that the medication can make you feel dizzy. Therefore, you should not drive or use heavy machinery, unless you are perfectly sure that you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages too.
Valacyclovir is not known to cause any allergies. It is allergenic to those who are hypersensitive to any of its ingredients though. Therefore, if you are sensitive to acyclovir or other components, mention your weakness to the specialist doctor. Chances are you will be given a different product. Reach to the emergency room if you are not sure about it, yet you experience the symptoms of an allergy – swelling of lips, tongue, face or throat. Allergies also cause severe difficulties in breathing and swallowing.
Valacyclovir treatments depend on multiple factors, such as the infection type, its severity, your medical history and possible allergies. It also depends on whether you use this medication to treat an infection or to prevent it. For example, the treatment for the herpes simplex infection requires two doses within one day only. Other treatments – especially the ones for prevention – require up to a week of treatment. Your specialist doctor is the only one who can make the right recommendations. Go through the informative leaflet in the package too because it contains relevant information on precautions, dosage, administration and potential adverse reactions.
Elder and Pregnancy Considerations
Valacyclovir can be properly used by elders. However, people older than 65 are weaker than young adults, so they might be exposed to a series of health related problems. Kidney problems are extremely risky. If you suffer from such conditions or you got a weak immune system, chances are your dose and frequency will be adjusted.
There is no evidence of Valacyclovir to cause fetal problems or get transmitted through the breast milk. Therefore, pregnant and breastfeeding women should discuss with the doctor for advice.
Potential Side Effects
Valacyclovir is a medication. Every medication has adverse reactions. Its side effects are mild and tend to go away by the end of the treatment without any extra action. The most common reactions include headaches, dizziness, stomach discomfort and nausea. Let your doctor know if they persist. Allergies or severe side effects show up in less than 0.01% of all patients. They are normally triggered by other severe conditions too.