Shingles Home > Important Instructions on Taking Valacyclovir

Genital Herpes
In people who took valacyclovir to treat their initial genital herpes infection, the lesions healed in nine days, on average, and people had pain for five days, on average. For outbreaks in people who had previously been infected, it took an average of four days for the lesions to heal, compared to six days for people who were not taking this medication.
About 65 percent of people who took valacyclovir every day were outbreak-free for six months, compared to only 26 percent of people who were not treated. Taking the drug every day also decreased the chance of spreading genital herpes to sexual partners. After eight months, less than 1.9 percent of partners of people who were taking valacyclovir daily were infected, compared to 3.6 percent of partners of people who were not taking the drug. However, keep in mind that valacyclovir is not a cure for genital herpes.
Valacyclovir was approved for treating chickenpox in children based on studies of acyclovir (Zovirax®), a similar medication. Other studies have shown that valacyclovir (which the body transforms into acyclovir) is safe in children.

When and How to Take This Drug

General considerations for when and how to take valacyclovir include the following:
  • The medication comes in caplet form. Depending on the type of infection, it is usually taken one, two, or three times a day
  • Valacyclovir works best if started at the first signs of an outbreak. It may not work if taken too late.
  • Your dosage can be taken with or without food.
  • Valacyclovir should be taken at the same time each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Valacyclovir will not work if you stop taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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