What are valacyclovir tablets?
- Valacyclovir tablets are a prescription antiviral medicine. Valacyclovir tablets lower the
ability of herpes viruses to multiply in your body.
What are cold sores, chickenpox, shingles and genital herpes?
- Valacyclovir tablets are used in adults:
- to treat cold sores (also called fever blisters or herpes labialis)
- to treat shingles (also called herpes zoster)
- to treat or control genital herpes outbreaks in adults with normal immune systems
- to control genital herpes outbreaks in adults infected with the human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV) with CD4 + cell count greater than 100 cells/mm3
- with safer sex practices to lower the chances of spreading genital herpes to uninfected
partners. Even with safer sex practices, it is still possible to spread genital herpes.
Valacyclovir tablets used daily with the following safer sex practices can lower the
chances of passing genital herpes to your partner.
- Do not have sexual contact with your partner when you have any symptom or outbreak of
- Use a condom made of latex or polyurethane whenever you have sexual contact.
- Cold sores are caused by a herpes virus that may be spread by kissing or other physical
contact with the infected area of the skin. They are small, painful ulcers that you get in
or around your mouth. It is not known if valacyclovir tablets can stop the spread of cold
sores to others.
Chickenpox is caused by a herpes virus called Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV). It causes an itchy rash
of multiple small, red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites usually appearing first on the
abdomen or back and face. It can spread to almost everywhere else on the body and may be accompanied
by flu-like symptoms.
Shingles is caused by the same herpes virus that causes chickenpox. It causes small, painful
blisters to appear on your skin. Shingles occurs in people who have already had chickenpox. Shingles
can be spread to people who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine by contact with the
infected areas of the skin. It is not known if valacyclovir tablets can stop the spread of shingles
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. It causes small, painful blisters on your
genital area. You can spread genital herpes to others, even when you have no symptoms. If you are
sexually active, you can still pass herpes to your partner, even if you are taking valacyclovir
tablets. Valacyclovir tablets, taken every day as prescribed and used with the following safer sex
practices, can lower the chances of passing genital herpes to your partner.
Do not have sexual contact with your partner when you have any symptom or outbreak of
Use a condom made of latex or polyurethane whenever you have sexual contact. Ask your
healthcare provider for more information about safer sex practices.
Who should not take valacyclovir tablets?
Before taking valacyclovir tablets, tell your healthcare provider:
- Do not take valacyclovir tablets if you are allergic to any of its ingredients or to
acyclovir. The active ingredient is valacyclovir.
How should I take valacyclovir tablets?
- About all your medical conditions, including:
- if you have had a bone marrow transplant or kidney transplant, or if you have
advanced HIV disease or “AIDS”. Patients with these conditions may have a higher
chance for getting a blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic
purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome (TTP/HUS). TTP/HUS can result in death.
- if you have kidney problems. Patients with kidney problems may have a higher chance
of side effects or more kidney problems with valacyclovir tablets. Your healthcare
provider may give you a lower dose of valacyclovir tablets.
- if you are 65 years of age or older. Elderly patients have a higher chance of
certain side effects. Also, elderly patients are more likely to have kidney
problems. Your healthcare provider may give you a lower dose of valacyclovir
- if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Talk with your healthcare
provider about the risks and benefits of taking prescription drugs (including
valacyclovir tablets) during pregnancy.
- if you are breast-feeding. Valacyclovir tablets may pass into your milk and it may
harm your baby. Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your
baby if you are taking valacyclovir tablets.
- about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription
medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Valacyclovir tablets may affect other
medicines, and other medicines may affect valacyclovir tablets. It is a good idea to
keep a complete list of all the medicines you take. Show this list to your
healthcare provider and pharmacist any time you get a new medicine.
- Withholding or providing inaccurate information about your health and medical
history in order to obtain treatment may result in harm, including, in some cases,
- Take valacyclovir tablets exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Your dose of
valacyclovir tablets and length of treatment will depend on the type of herpes infection
that you have and any other medical problems that you have.
- Do not stop valacyclovir tablets or change your treatment without talking to your healthcare
- Valacyclovir tablets can be taken with or without food.If you are taking valacyclovir
tablets to treat cold sores, chickenpox, shingles or genital herpes, you should start
treatment as soon as possible after your symptoms start. Valacyclovir tablets may not help
you if you start treatment too late.
- If you miss a dose of valacyclovir tablets, take it as soon as you remember and then take
your next dose at its regular time. However, 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.
- Do not take more than the prescribed number of valacyclovir tablets each day. Call your
healthcare provider right away if you take too much valacyclovir tablets.
- What are the possible side effects of valacyclovir tablets?
- Kidney failure and nervous system problems are not common, but can be serious in some
patients taking valacyclovir tablets. Nervous system problems include aggressive behavior,
unsteady movement, shaky movements, confusion, speech problems, hallucinations (seeing or
hearing things that are really not there), seizures and coma.
Kidney failure and nervous system problems have happened in patients who already have kidney disease
and in elderly patients whose kidneys do not work well due to age. Always tell your healthcare
provider if you have kidney problems before taking valacyclovir tablets.
Call your doctor right away if you get a nervous system problem while you are taking valacyclovir
Common side effects of valacyclovir tablets in adults include headache, nausea, stomach pain,
vomiting and dizziness. Side effects in HIV-infected adults include headache, tiredness and rash.
These side effects usually are mild and do not cause patients to stop taking valacyclovir tablets.
Other less common side effects in adults include painful periods in women, joint pain, depression,
low blood cell counts and changes in tests that measure how well the liver and kidneys work. The
most common side effect seen in children < 18 years of age was headache.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you develop any side effects that concern you. These are not
all the side effects of valacyclovir tablets. For more information ask your healthcare provider
Keep valacyclovir tablets and all medicines out of the reach of children. General information
about valacyclovir tablets Medicines are sometimes prescribed for conditions that are not
mentioned in patient information leaflets. Do not use valacyclovir tablets for a condition for
which it was not prescribed. Do not give valacyclovir tablets to other people, even if they have
the same symptoms you have. It may harm them.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription products to the FDA. Visit
www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please see the full Prescribing Information for complete safety information.