What is Valaciclovir and how does it work?
Valaciclovir is used for the treatment of shingles and genital herpes. This is known as a pro-drug that works by stopping these herpes viruses from reproducing and infecting more cells in the body. Aciclovir is converted to a more active form inside cells of the body that are infected with herpes viruses. The activated aciclovir then works by blocking the action of a viral enzyme called DNA polymerase. The herpes viruses need the DNA polymerase enzyme to copy their genetic material from RNA to DNA. This process is needed for the viruses to multiply and continue to survive. By blocking the action of DNA polymerase, Aciclovir prevents the herpes viruses from multiplying. This controls the infection and helps the immune system to deal with it.
Shingles cause a painful rash that can occur anywhere on your body. Although it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wrap around either the left or the right side of your torso. Shingles are caused by the varicella-zoster virus which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles. The signs and symptoms of shingles usually affect only a small section of one side of your body. These signs and symptoms may include:
⦁ A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
⦁ Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
⦁ Pain, burning, numbness, or tingling
⦁ Sensitivity to touch
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Sexual contact is the primary way that the virus spreads. After the initial infection, the virus lies dormant in your body and can reactivate several times. You may have no signs or symptoms of genital herpes. If infected, you can be contagious even if you have no visible sores. Most people infected with HSV don’t know they have it because they don’t have any signs or symptoms or because their signs and symptoms are so mild. When present, symptoms may begin about 2 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. If you experience symptoms of genital herpes, they may include:
⦁ Small red bumps or tiny white blisters – these may appear a few days to a few weeks after infection.
⦁ Pain or itching – you may experience pain and tenderness in your genital area until the infection clears.
⦁ Scabs – skin will crust over and form scabs as ulcers heal.
⦁ Ulcers – these may form when blisters rupture and ooze or bleed. Ulcers may make it painful to urinate.
How to use Valaciclovir?
The recommended dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Your doctor may instruct you to take it at a lower dose and gradually increase it. Remember to take it at the same time each day. Do not suddenly stop it without the consent of your doctor. Stopping this treatment may cause another complication or could worsen your current disease. Take this medication until the prescription is finished. Even if you feel well, continue to take it unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Follow the instructions of your doctor carefully for the best benefit. Do not give this to others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
Valaciclovir is taken regularly to also lessen the risk of passing genital herpes to a sexual partner. However, you should still avoid sexual contact when the sores are present to avoid passing on the virus. If you suffer from frequent herpes simplex flare-ups your doctor may prescribe Valaciclovir for you to take regularly. It is to suppress the virus and prevent recurrences.
What are the side effects of Valaciclovir?
Common side effects:
⦁ Sore throat
⦁ Stuffy nose
⦁ Skin rash
⦁ Menstrual pain
⦁ Joint pain
⦁ Tired feeling
Call your doctor right away if these occur:
⦁ You feel shaky or unsteady
⦁ Problems with speech
⦁ Kidney problems (feeling tired, swelling in your ankles or feet, little or no urination)
Stop taking this medicine and call for medical help right away if these occur:
⦁ Pale skin
⦁ Red or pink urine
⦁ Little or no urination
⦁ Unusual bleeding
⦁ Feeling weak or tired
⦁ Purple or red spots on the skin
⦁ Bloody diarrhea
⦁ Stomach pain
⦁ Swelling in your feet, hands, or face
Warnings and Precautions
⦁ If you are taking this to prevent genital herpes, you should be aware that it does not completely remove the risk of passing the virus ti your sexual partner. You should continue to practice safe sex even while having this treatment. You should also avoid sexual contact while the sores are present.
⦁ It is important to drink plenty of water while having this drug. It is to avoid getting dehydrated especially if you are over 65 years of age and have kidney problems.
⦁ Tell your doctor if you feel drowsy, agitated, hallucinations, or have any disturbance thoughts while having this medication. These rare nervous system side effects are more likely to happen in elderly people.
⦁ This drug is to be used with caution in people with decreased kidney function, liver disease, or a liver transplant.
⦁ People with an underactive immune system and in elderly people, this medication should be used carefully and properly.
⦁ If you ever had an allergic reaction to this drug, tell it to your doctor as well as if you have any allergies. This product may contain ingredients that causes allergic reaction.
⦁ Certain medicines should not be used during breastfeeding or pregnancy. However, other drugs may be safely used in breastfeeding or pregnancy providing the benefits to the mother. Always inform your doctor if you are planning a pregnancy or already pregnant before using any medicine.