Herpes | menMD

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Valacyclovir for Herpes

Valacyclovir is an antiviral medication prescribed to treat and manage herpes, cold sores and shingles.

Herpes is highly contagious and very common among men and women older than 14 years old. Herpes simplex 1, also known as HSV-1, causes sores around the mouth and lips (sometimes called fever blisters or cold sores). HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, but most cases of genital herpes are caused by herpes simplex 2 or HSV-2. In HSV-2, the infected person may have sores around the genitals or rectum.

Sores caused by either herpes virus may burn, tingle, and become painful when you eat or drink. Outbreaks will typically clear with time with or without treatment.

While there are no known cures, antiviral medications for herpes can prevent or shorten outbreaks during the time a person takes the medication. Daily use of an antiviral medication for herpes can also reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.

How It Helps Treat Herpes

Valacyclovir, also sold under the brand name Valtrex®, is clinically tested and FDA approved for the treatment of herpes by slowing down the growth of herpes within the body. Studies show patients who are diagnosed with HSV-2 using Valacyclovir were almost 50% less likely to transmit the virus to a sexual partner versus a patient who is not on managing their HSV-2 with Valacyclovir.

Valacyclovir is an oral medication available in 500mg and 1000mg tablets. While Valacyclovir is not a cure, it is a highly effective antiviral daily-dose preventative treatment, and twice daily duration-limiting treatment during breakouts. It does help relieve the pain and discomfort from herpes, as well as, healing sores faster.

Side Effects

While generally well tolerated, valacyclovir therapy may result in side effects including headache, upset stomach, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, rash, itching, confusion, yellowing of the skin or eyes, fever, dizziness, and blood in the urine. Valacyclovir may not be appropriate for patients with kidney function conditions. As always, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and stop taking the medication and consult your physician if you experience side effects.

Available Options

Valacyclovir Tablets


Available in 500mg and 1000mg tablets

Valacyclovir is the active ingredient in Valtrex®

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