Valaciclovir is a medicine used to treat viral infections.
This medicine is used to treat herpes infections such as herpes zoster (shingles) or shingles affecting the eyes. It may also be used to treat cold sores or infections of the skin or genitals that is caused by the herpes simplex virus.
This medicine may also be used after an organ transplant to prevent an infection with a virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Valaciclovir may also be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take Valaciclovir with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
If you experience any stomach discomfort, you may take this medicine with food.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of your infection.
Valaciclovir must be taken at regular intervals for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Do not skip any doses. You must complete the entire course of medicine. If you don't, the infection will not be properly controlled.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you ever had an allergic reaction (rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to Valaciclovir or any similar antiviral medications such as aciclovir.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- weak immune system
- inadequately hydrated or at risk of dehydration
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to an elderly. Elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Valaciclovir does not reduce your risk of passing genital herpes to other people through sexual contact. Ensure that you take proper precautions to avoid spreading herpes virus infection to others. Practice safe sex and use condoms to protect your partner. If you still have genital sores or blisters, you should avoid sexual contact until the doctor certifies that you are cleared of the infection.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly. You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. complete blood count, liver and kidney function) to check your body’s response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you how often you need to have these tests.
Valaciclovir may cause any of the following side effects: headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, tiredness, and increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes, mouth or throat
- fever with persistent sore throat or mouth ulcers, unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual changes in mood and behaviour (being too depressed or agitated)
- confusion and hallucinations (seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not existent)
- signs of kidney problems e.g. blood in urine, difficulty passing urine
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines for viral infections e.g. tenofovir, foscarnet
- cimetidine (medicine that reduce stomach acid production)
- probenecid (medicine for gout)
- methotrexate (medicine for cancer)
- medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders e.g. ciclosporin, tacrolimus
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Valaciclovir.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.