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Valacyclovir (Valcivir) 500mg: Everything You Need to Know

A  generic brand name of its active ingredient, Valacyclovir. This is an anti-viral prescription medicine used to treat infections caused by certain types of viruses. In children, it is used to treat cold sores (herpes simplex) and chickenpox (varicella zoster). In adults, it is used to treat shingles (herpes zoster). Valacyclovir is also used to treat outbreaks of genital herpes and used to prevent cytomegalovirus following kidney transplant in high risk cases. In people with frequent outbreaks, this medication is used to reduce the number of future episodes.

What does Valacyclovir (Valcivir) 500mg contain?

Valcivir 500mg tablet contains an active ingredient called valacyclovir. It belongs to a class of medicine called anti-viral drugs.

How does Valacyclovir (Valcivir) 500mg tablet work?

Valcivir 500mg tablet and its active ingredient valacyclovir, is an anti-viral drug. The herpes virus spreads in your body by creating more of its cells. Valacyclovir works by making it harder for the herpes virus to multiply in your body and it slows down the growth of viruses. This drug does not cure herpes infections; however, this drug helps to reduce the symptoms and decrease the severity of the condition. The herpes virus may still live in your body after treatment. This means the infection may occur again at a later time even after the symptoms of the first infection are gone. However, this drug can help prevent such a re-infection at a later time.

Who cannot take Valacyclovir (Valcivir) 500mg?

Before taking this drug, inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions.  Valacyclovir is not suitable for everyone. Patients under treatment for the following conditions, or any ongoing managed condition, should consult their doctor prior to taking this medication

  • You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to valacyclovir or acyclovir
  • Patients inadequately hydrated or at risk of dehydration
  • Kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis)
  • HIV/AIDS, or other conditions that can weaken the immune system
  • Patients with history of kidney transplant or bone marrow transplant

How should you take Valacyclovir (Valcivir) 500mg?

Take Valcivir 500mg tablet exactly as prescribed by your doctor. You may Additional Information tab for recommended doses.

  • Take this medication orally with food (to reduce gastrointestinal upset) or without food.
  • Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication to lower the chance of side effects.
  • Start taking valacyclovir as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters). Valacyclovir works best if it is used within 48 hours after the first symptoms of shingles or genital herpes (e.g., pain, burning, or blisters) begin to appear. For recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes, valacyclovir works best if it is used within 24 hours after the symptoms begin to appear. If you are taking valacyclovir for the treatment of chickenpox, it is best to start taking valacyclovir as soon as possible after the first sign of the chickenpox rash appears, usually within one day.

This medicine might not be as effective if you first start taking it 1 or 2 days after the start of your symptoms. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Do not skip any doses and finish the full course of treatment.

The number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

What if you miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the doses.

What if you take too much?

If you take too much of the drug, seek medical help immediately.

Symptoms of overdosage may include: Acute renal failure, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, decreased consciousness, and coma. Management may consider hemodialysis to enhance removal of valacyclovir from the blood.

 

What are the side effects of Valacyclovir (Valcivir) 500mg?

Most side effects do not require any medical attention and disappear as your body adjusts to the medicine. The most frequently reported adverse effect by patient taking valacyclovir Includes:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain

This is not a complete list of possible adverse effects; others may arise. For medical advice on side effects, contact your doctor.

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficulty of breathing, swelling in your face of throat) to Valacyclovir, or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).

 

What other precautions should be taken?

Children

This drug has not been studied for use in treatment or prevention of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection in newborn babies. The following are other age limitations for use of this drug:

  • Oral herpes (cold sores): This drug has been studied and approved for treatment of cold sores in children ages 12 years and older.
  • Chickenpox: This drug has been studied and approved for treatment of chickenpox in children 2 to 18 years of age. This drug has not been studied or approved for treatment in children younger than 2 years of age.
  • Genital herpes: This drug has not been studied or approved for treatment of genital herpes in children younger than 18 years.
  • Shingles: This drug has not been studied or approved for treatment of shingles in children younger than 18 years.

Elderly

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of potential side effects.

Pregnancy

This drug is a categorized as FDA Pregnancy class B. The data for risk of congenital malformations associated with use of valacyclovir during pregnancy ranges from no risk to a small increased risk. Therefore, valacyclovir can be safely used during pregnancy. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support that valacyclovir use by pregnant women causes adverse outcomes in their offspring. Therefore, this agent should only be used during pregnancy when clinically indicated, if the benefits of treatment are expected to outweigh the potential risks.  Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant before taking this drug.

Breastfeeding

Valcivir 500mg tablet is safe to use during breastfeeding. Human studies suggest that the drug does not pass into the breastmilk in a significant amount and is not harmful to the baby.

Drug-Disease Interactions 

Valacyclovir has 4 disease interactions which include: Before taking this drug, inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions.

  • Dehydration
  • Hemodialysis
  • Kidney impairment
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)

Drug-Drug Interactions

Patients under treatment for the following conditions, or any ongoing managed condition, should consult their doctor prior to taking this medication

  • Increased risk of renal impairment with nephrotoxic drugs (e.g. aminoglycosides, organoplatinum compounds, iodinated contrast media, methotrexate, pentamidine, foscarnet, ciclosporin, tacrolimus).
  • Probenecid and cimetidine may reduce renal clearance of valacyclovir.

Alcohol

It is not known whether it is safe to consume alcohol with Valcivir 1000mg tablet. Please consult your doctor.

Driving

Valcivir 500mg tablet may decrease alertness, affect your vision, or make you feel sleepy and dizzy. Do not drive if these symptoms occur.

Diet and Lifestyle

Make a healthy lifestyle habit that may reduce your risk of certain infections. Drink plenty of water while on treatment with this medicine. This helps to prevent dehydration, lower the chance of side effects, and help prevent  kidney damage.

How should you store Valacyclovir (Valcivir) 500mg?

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children. Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

 

Where can I buy Valacyclovir (Valcivir) 500mg?

Lots of different Pharmaceutical Companies offers Valacyclovir (Valcivir) 500mg but only few of them sells for an affordable price. One of them is GoodPharm, they provide the cheapest yet quality products for as low as $64.40 for 30 pills.

Quick Tips

  • Do not skip any dose and finish the full course of treatment even if you feel better.
  • Drink plenty of water while on this medication to prevent dehydration and kidney problem.
  • If you have genital herpes, use barrier methods of contraception (e.g. condom) and abstain from sex while there are sores present to avoid spread of infection to your partner.
  • If you have chickenpox or shingles, isolate yourself from other household members even while on treatment. Wear a mask and observe proper hygiene by washing your hands. Do not share utensils, clothing, and linen with others. Avoid touching your sores and blisters. Your infection is highly contagious; it easily spreads to others who have never had the disease or never been vaccinated. You are contagious until all the blisters have crusted.

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