Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug. It slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus to help the body fight the infection. Valacyclovir is used to treat infections caused by herpes viruses, including genital herpes, cold sores, and shingles (herpes zoster) in adults.
Valacyclovir is used to treat cold sores in children who are at least 12 years old, or chickenpox in children whoare at least 2 years old. Valacyclovir will not cure herpes and will not prevent you from spreading the virus to other people. However, this medicine can lessen the symptoms of an infection.
Valacyclovir is used to treat infections caused by certain types of viruses. In children, it is used to treat cold sores around the mouth (caused by herpes simplex) and chickenpox (caused by varicella zoster). In adults, it is used to treat shingles (caused by herpes zoster) and cold sores around the mouth.
Valacyclovir is also used to treat outbreaks of genital herpes. In people with frequent outbreaks, this medication is used to reduce the number of future episodes.
Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug. It stops the growth of certain viruses. However, it is not a cure for these infections. The viruses that cause these infections continue to live in the body even between outbreaks. Valacyclovir decreases the severity and length of these outbreaks. It helps the sores heal faster, keeps new sores from forming, and decreases pain/itching
Valcivir tablets 500mg contain valacyclovir, a prodrug of acyclovir that is more readily absorbed and is converted to acyclovir by the liver. Valacyclovir in Valcivir tablets 500mg then works in the same way as acyclovir, as an antiviral agent that is highly active against both types of herpes simplex virus, HSV-I, that causes cold sores and HSV-II that causes genital herpes; and also against the closely related varicella zoster herpes virus that causes chicken pox and shingles. Acyclovir inhibits the action of a viral enzyme (DNA polymerase), blocking viral DNA synthesis without affecting normal cellular processes.
This prevents the virus replicating and therefore, stops the growth and spread of the virus, relieving symptoms of the infection and helping the body to fight off the infection. Valcivir tablets 500mg will not cure a herpes infection, as the virus can lie dormant in infected cells until reactivated when immunity is low by stress, other illness or even exposure to sunlight, causing new infections like cold sores and shingles; but it does reduce pain and help the sores caused by the infection to heal faster.
Take valacyclovir by mouth, with or without food, as directed by your doctor. Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication to lower the chance of side effects.
The dosage and length of treatment are based on your type of infection, medical condition, and response to treatment. For treating chickenpox in children, the dosage is also based on weight.
This medication works best when started at the first sign of an outbreak, as directed by your doctor. It may not work as well if you delay treatment. For shingles or chickenpox, start taking valacyclovir at the first symptom or as soon as possible after the rash appears. For cold sores or genital herpes, start taking this medication at the first sign or as soon as you feel tingling, itching, or burning.
Valacyclovir works best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished. Do not change your dose, skip any doses, or stop this medication early without your doctor’s approval.
- Missed Dose:
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: change in the amount of urine, extreme tiredness, mental/mood changes, loss of consciousness, seizures.
Common side effects are:
- Abdominal pain
- Cold symptoms
- Increased liver enzymes
- Reduction of white blood cells
Other important side effects are:
- Joint pain
More serious side effects include central nervous system side effects which are more likely to happen in the elderly such as:
- Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
- Encephalopathy (a disorder of the brain)
Blood disorders: For certain people, this drug can cause thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)/ hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). These conditions cause a severely low level of red blood cells and platelets in your body. TTP/HUS can result in death. You’re at risk of these problems if you’ve had a bone marrow or a kidney transplant. You’re also at risk if you have advanced HIV or AIDS.
Kidney failure: In some cases, this drug can cause your kidneys to stop working. This can occur if you’re on a high dose of this medication and have existing kidney problems. It can also occur if you’re taking other drugs that can harm your kidneys, if you’re not well hydrated, or if you’re over the age of 65 years.
Effects on the central nervous system: If you have kidney disease or use this drug at higher doses than your doctor prescribes, it can build up in your body. High levels of this drug can cause serious side effects that impact your brain. Symptoms can include hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real) or delusions (believing things that aren’t true). They can also include agitation, confusion, or seizures. If you have any of these side effects, stop taking this drug. Call 911 right away or go to the nearest emergency room.
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