Indications for Valacyclovir
Using Valacyclovir for Cold Sores
Cold sores (known medically as herpes labialis) are caused by a virus, usually herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1). Cold sores, also called fever blisters, usually occur on the lips or mouth (unlike canker sores, which occur inside the mouth). Cold sores can be highly contagious and can spread to other people easily. Most people have been infected with the cold sore virus, even if they have never had a cold sore.
The cold sore virus never really goes away, but remains inactive in certain nerve cells in the body. The virus can become active again, often triggered by stress or illness, and can cause recurring cold sores.
When valacyclovir is used for the treatment of cold sores, it can help them to heal faster. However, it does not stop the cold sores from appearing once the symptoms have started. The drug works best if used at the first sign of a cold sore (often tingling, itching, burning, or redness). It's important to keep in mind, however, that valacyclovir is not a cure for cold sores.
Using Valacyclovir for Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by a virus, usually herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2). Genital herpes symptoms may include redness, itching, bumps, tingling, vaginal discharge, and painful urination.
Genital herpes blisters usually heal within one to two weeks. However, most people who are infected continue to have recurrent outbreaks. Valacyclovir is not a cure for genital herpes, and the virus will always remain in your body. However, valacyclovir can help genital herpes blisters to heal more quickly.
If taken on a daily basis, valacyclovir can also help prevent genital herpes outbreaks from occurring and can help prevent the spread of genital herpes to sexual partners.
Even when taking valacyclovir, it is important to avoid sexual contact while you are having a genital herpes outbreak to prevent spreading the virus to your partner. It is important to always use condoms, even between outbreaks, as genital herpes can be spread at any time.
Valacyclovir can also be used on a daily basis to prevent outbreaks in people with genital herpes and HIV.
Using Valacyclovir for Chickenpox
Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), a virus that is part of the herpes virus family. Chickenpox results in a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever.
Symptoms of chickenpox can begin with one to two days of low-grade fever and tiredness. These early symptoms of chickenpox do not always occur before the chickenpox rash develops.
Early symptoms of chickenpox are followed by itchy blisters that first appear on the trunk, face, and scalp. These blisters can spread over the entire body, causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters. The chickenpox rash can appear in three or more successive waves. Eventually, the blisters crust over.
Valacyclovir is approved to treat chickenpox in children and adolescents age 2 to 18 years old. It works best when started within 24 hours of the onset of the chickenpox rash.