Valtrex and Acyclovir (Zovirax)
Ask A Healer Prescription Drugs Series
Antiviral Medications for HSV - Potential Side Effects and Drug Interactions
by N J Howell
Valtrex is an antiviral agent used in the treatment of herpes zoster (shingles), genital herpes and is also being used for herpes simplex (cold sores). The most significant thing I can say about this medical treatment is just how many times, in their own report about the studies done by GlaxcoSmithKline, the words "efficacy has not been established" appears. Those words mean it has not been proven how well this drug works against herpes. If you'd like to read more, here's the GlaxcoSmithKline Abstract on Valtrex.
If you choose to use Valtrex to treat hsv-1 or hsv-2, or for shingles, it is important to this medication as directed. Take all your Valtrex medication as prescribed. Do not skip doses or stop taking Valtrex without your doctor's approval. Stopping therapy too soon may result in ineffective treatment. Valtrex is most effective if it is started within 48 hours of when the herpes outbreak symptoms first appear.
Potential Valtrex Side Effects: Please note this is only a partial list, as possible reactions are broad. Be sure to ask your doctor about any discomfort you have while taking Valtrex, whether or not your side effect includes the following.
Nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of appetite, weakness, abdominal pain or dizziness may occur the first several days on Valtrex, as your body adjusts to the medication. Of these symptoms, pain in the abdomen, nausea and headaches are most common. Some users have also had hallucinations, agitation, swelling of the brain and other troubling symptoms. If any of these side effects continue or become bothersome, inform your doctor. Notify your doctor if your condition does not appear to improve or you experience a worsening of symptoms while taking this medication.
Precautions When Taking Valtrex: Tell your doctor if you have any kidney disease, blood disorders or if you have any allergies. Acute renal failure has occurred in elderly who took Valtrex. If you have AIDS/HIV, have had a renal transplant or a bone marrow transplant, please discuss the risks of TTP/HUS. This is a dangerous condition with a VERY long name. Ask your doctor about the risks of TTP/HUS if you fit the before-mentioned criteria. This medication should be used only if clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is not known if this medication appears in breast milk. Consult with your doctor before breast-feeding.
Potential Valtrex Drug Interactions: Tell your doctor of any over-the-counter or prescription medication you may take including cimetidine or probenecid. Valtrex may interact with quite a few different prescription drugs so make sure to go over all drugs you are taking carefully. A few drugs to consider include Tagamet, Cymbalta, Lyrica, Benuryl and NSAID's.
About Acyclovir: Acyclovir is an antiviral used to treat herpes zoster (shingles), chickenpox, or genital herpes. It may sometimes be used to treat other conditions. Acyclovir, also called Zovirax, is excreted through the kidneys so those with kidney problems need to fully inform their doctor and pharmacist if prescribe acyclovir, as dosage may need to be reduced in some cases. Longterm use of acylovir can lead to the body developing resistance to it. Also, diarrhea and skin rash may occur with longterm use. More rare side effects include nausea, headaches and vomiting.
The list of medications with which Zovirax can react is quite long so be sure to take a complete list of all medications you are currently taking, as well as all vitamins and other nutrients, when talking to your doctor about taking acyclovir for your herpes outbreaks.
How many people have hsv1 and hsv-2? Whew, lots of people! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 5 American teenagers and adults is infected with HSV-2. Women are more commonly infected than men. In the United States, 1 out of 4 women is infected with HSV-2. Visit the site for more important health information regarding herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases. Source: The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases
Health Disclaimer: This information on the herpes simplex virus and drugs used to treat it is not meant to be exhaustive. It's important to research prescription drugs as well as natural antivirals and weight the risks against the potential benefits in treating hsv infections. No natural remedy is represented as replacement for any necessary medical evaluation, testing or treatment.