Valacyclovir side effects and benefits Valtrex product hydrochloride medication by Ray Sahelian, M.D. 
April 1, 2016


Valacyclovir is a prescription medication with the product name Valtrex used to treat herpes zoster (shingles) and genital herpes. It does not cure herpes infections but decreases pain and itching, helps sores to heal, and prevents new ones from forming.


Availability of Valacyclovir hydrochloride
Valacyclovir comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 8 hours (three times a day) for 7 days to treat shingles. To treat genital herpes it is usually taken twice a day for 5 days. Use this medication as soon as possible after symptoms appear.

Valacyclovir side effects

Side effects from valacyclovir hydrochloride are not common, but they can occur. Valacyclovir side effects include: headache, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea or loose stools, constipation. Less common valacyclovir side effects include rash, itching, confusion, yellowness of the skin or eyes, fever, and blood in the urine.


Valacyclovir and Pregnancy

Administration of valacyclovir beginning at 36 weeks' gestation to women with a history of recurrent genital HSV reduces the number of women with subsequent clinical HSV recurrences.


PLoS One. Feb 4 2014. Maternal Valacyclovir and Infant Cytomegalovirus Acquisition: A Randomized Controlled Trial among HIV-Infected Women. In this cohort of HIV-1-seropositive mothers, two-thirds of infants acquired CMV by one year. Maternal valacyclovir had no effect on timing of infant CMV acquisition or breast milk CMV viral loads, although it modestly reduced cervical CMV shedding.


Acylovir or Valacyclovir, which one to choose?
Valacyclovir is very similar to acyclovir and is often used to treat the same types of infections. A common
name for it is Valtrex. Since valacyclovir is changed to acyclovir once in the woman’s body, the effects on the
pregnancy and breastfeeding are thought to be the same.
     The Herpes family (Types 1 to 8) continue to inflict considerable morbidity and social stigma upon humanity. Once infected with the herpes viruses, especially Types 1 to 3, they establish permanent residence within our nervous system and reactivate during periods of stress or trauma. To date, there is no cure for herpes viral infections but antivirals can reduce the symptoms and duration of episodic outbreaks. Prophylactic therapy can suppress recurrences. The first antiviral with selective activity against virus-infected cells was acyclovir. Valacyclovir, a prodrug of acyclovi, is a second generation antiviral against herpes infection.