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Valaciclovir

Generic Name (active ingredient): Valacyclovir
Brand Name: Valtrex

Valacyclovir is antiviral preparation, specific inhibitor of DNA-polymerase of herpes virus. It is used to treat shingles (herpes zoster) and viral diseases caused by Herpes Simplex. Valacyclovir is also indicated for prophylaxis of cytomegalovirus infection in patients with HIV infection, organs transplantation, oncological patients.

How does the medication work?
After oral administration Valaciclovir is rapidly and completely converted into acyclovir under the action of valacyclovir hydrolase. The process of phosphorylation of acyclovir (conversion from mono-to triphosphate) is performed by cellular kinases. Acyclovir triphosphate competitively inhibits viral DNA polymerase and then embedded in the viral DNA. This leads to obligate (full) breaking the chain of DNA synthesis and subsequent block of viral replication.
In vitro Acyclovir possesses a specific inhibitory activity against Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, Varicella zoster and Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus and human herpes virus type 6.

When Valacyclovir is prescribed?

  • Treatment of shingles caused by Herpes zoster
  • Treatment of skin and mucous lining infection caused by Herpes simplex type 1 and 2
  • Herpes labial treatment
  • Genital herpes treatment
  • Epstein-Barr virus treatment
  • Chickenpox (infection caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV))

What should I know before taking Valacyclovir ?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to Valtrex or to any other medicines such as:

  • Acyclovir and other nucleosides

Do not take Valacyclovir if any of the below conditions apply to you:

  • Renal failure or other kidney diseases such as pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis
  • Hepatic failure or other liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis
  • Depression
  • Severe immune system disorders

Before taking Valacyclovir, tell your health care provider about any other medicines you take or if you have any of the following disorders:

  • Patients with HIV
  • Bone marrow or kidney transplantation
  • Liver diseases in anamnesis
  • Kidney diseases in anamnesis

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeed, you should take Valtrex only under a strict control of your doctor. Valacyclovir belongs to a pregnancy category B meaning that safety of the medication was not studied in pregnant women. Make sure to talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How to take Valacyclovir :
Valacyclovir is available in the forms of tablets or capsules which should be taken orally (by mouth). The medication should be taken at the first sign of an outbreak. It works best if taken as early as possible. Try to take the medication at the same time each day with or without food. Dosage of Valacyclovir is prescribed individually by physician.

Take the entire amount of Valtrex prescribed by your doctor, even if you feel better before the end of the treatment. If you stop taking medication too early, symptoms may return.
If you missed the scheduled dose, take the medication as soon as you remember, but skip the dose if it is almost the time for the following dose. Do not take two doses at once.

What are the side effects of Valacyclovir?
Valacyclovir may cause the following side effects:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain (or stomach pain)
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • Dizziness

In rare cases Valacyclovir may cause: changes of blood cell counts, high blood pressure, tachycardia, diarrhea, vision changes, hair loss, hepatitis, renal failure and others.
If you experience any side effect that last long or becomes bothersome, please inform your doctor as dose adjustment or treatment discontinuation may be required.

Which are Valacyclovir overdose symptoms?
If you overdose Valacyclovir, seek immediate medical attention. Overdose symptoms include: drowsiness, headache, back pain, hallucination, confusion, seizures, tremors, loss of consciousness.

Which other medicines may affect Valacyclovir ?
Valacyclovir may interact with the following groups of drugs:

  • H2 histamine receptor blocker (cimetidine)
  • Uricosuric drug (probenecid)
  • Antiviral drug (tenofovir)

For a complete list of possible interactions ask your doctor or pharmacist. Before taking Valacyclovir, let your doctor know what other medicines, including OTC, you currently take.

How should I store Valacyclovir?
You should store the medication at dry and protected from light place out of reach of children. Do not store Valacyclovir in the bathroom.