• Used to treat cold sores and the herpes simplex virus (HSV)
  • Can be used to prevent a recurrence of HSV infection
  • Reduces appearance and symptoms within 3 days

Please note brand received may vary

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What is Valaciclovir?

Valaciclovir is an antiviral medicine that is available to purchase on prescription.

It is also available as a branded version Valtrex, which is also sold at Medicine Direct

Valaciclovir 500mg tablets are available to purchase at Medicine Direct. We can offer you next day delivery if you order before 2pm.

What is Valaciclovir used to treat?

Valaciclovir, along with Aciclovir, is the most commonly prescribed medication to provide effective treatment for the Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and genital herpes virus.

Valaciclovir can be used to treat shingles, cold sores and the herpes simplex virus (HSV), commonly known as genital herpes. It can also be used to prevent a recurrence of a herpes simplex virus infection and to stop a CMV infection.

This treatment is available to purchase in packs of 10 tablets (to treat one outbreak), 20 tablets (to treat two outbreaks), or 30 tablets (to treat three outbreaks).

Valaciclovir or Aciclovir? What are the differences?

Acilovir is a drug used to treat Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Genital herpes, cold sores and shingles. Below we have summarised the main differences between Valaciclovir and Aciclovir.

  Valaciclovir Aciclovir
Drug Type Antiviral Antiviral

Herpes simplex

Genital herpes

Cold sores


Herpes simplex

Genital herpes

Cold sores


Frequency 1 Tablet to be taken twice daily 1 Tablet to be taken 5 times daily
Available Doses 500mg 400mg
Active Ingredients Valaciclovir Aciclovir
Available forms Oral Tablet

Oral capsule

Oral Tablet

Oral suspension

Aciclovir Cream

Prices Prices start from £44.99 Prices start from £18.99


Who can take Valaciclovir?

This genital herpes treatment is effective in most cases, but it may not be suitable for everyone to take.

You should not use Valaciclovir without speaking to your doctor if any of these apply to you:

  • You are allergic to valaciclovir or any of the other ingredients contained in this medicine (please refer to the Ingredients tab on this page)
  • You have ever had an extended rash associated with a fever, enlarged lymph node, increased levels of liver enzymes and/or eosinophilia after taking valaciclovir (If you develop this while taking Valaciclovir, you should stop using the medicine and contact your doctor immediately)
  • You have liver problems
  • You have kidney problems
  • You have a weak immune system
  • You are over the age of 65

This list may not be exhaustive; always read the information leaflet which will come with your medication before you start to use it.

Possible Side Effects

As with all medicines, Valaciclovir comes with the risk of certain side effects, although not everyone will get them.

Common side effects while using this treatment include:

  • Feeling sick
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Skin reaction after exposure to sunlight

If any of these conditions bother you or don't go away, you should speak to your doctor.

The above list is not exhaustive. For a list of more serious and rare reactions, please refer to the Side Effects tab on this page.

Valaciclovir Dosage

Our pharmacists and prescribers follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Valaciclovir.

Always take Valaciclovir tablets exactly as instructed by your doctor, and always thoroughly read the patient information leaflet for full details.

If you are unsure of anything, consult your doctor or pharmacist before you start the course of treatment.

Dosages of this medication vary depending on the condition you are being treated for. The recommended daily dose for this medicine as a treatment for genital herpes is one Valaciclovir 500mg tablet twice a day.

For the first infection, your doctor might tell you to use Valaciclovir for between 5 and 10 days. For a recurring infection, treatment normally lasts for between 3 and 5 days.

How to take Valaciclovir

To treat the herpes virus effectively, you should take the medication at the same time each day.

Swallow Valaciclovir tablets whole with a glass of water.

Always use this treatment exactly as instructed by your doctor.

You should make sure that you drink plenty of water throughout the day while using this medicine; this will help to reduce the risk of adverse effects that can affect your kidneys or nervous system.

What if I forget to take it?

If you forget to take a dose of Valaciclovir, just take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, just skip the missed dose and continue to take the medication as normal.

You should never take a double dose of any medicine to try and make up for missing a previous dose.

Taking Valaciclovir consistently is vital to ensuring you can treat genital herpes effectively. To avoid missing a dose, it is best if you take it at the same time each day.

What if I take too much?

Valaciclovir is not usually harmful if you accidentally take too much. You should speak to your doctor if you become worried or if you take more than one extra dose.

Taking too much of this medicine may result in adverse effects.

How quickly does Valaciclovir take to start working?

Your symptoms may be reduced after 3 days. Do not stop taking the medicine if you think your symptoms have fully gone as the herpes virus may still be present in your body, which means you may spread it to others. Valaciclovir reaches its peak concentration in your blood within one to three hours of taking it.

Whether you are being treated for genital herpes or another condition, you should always complete your course of treatment as instructed by your doctor, even if your symptoms appear to have gone.

Valaciclovir FAQ's

How can I buy Valaciclovir online in the UK?

If you are a valid UK citizen and have a prescription from a doctor, you will be able to purchase Valaciclovir online in the UK with us, Medicine Direct. If you do not yet have a prescription for Valaciclovir, you can fill in one of our health questionnaires which will be reviewed by one of our doctors. After assessing your answers, the doctors will then prescribe you the medicine if they deem it appropriate to do so. Order before 2pm and we can offer you next day delivery on your medication. Your order will be delivered in discreet packaging. You should never order any medication online unless it is with a registered pharmacy. Medicine Direct is registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council

How can I help stop Herpes from spreading?

Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your sores and your eyes. Avoid sexual intercourse as this will spread the virus or use a latex condom. Try and prevent any contact with other people so that the herpes virus does not spread to them. Herpes is highly contagious and has no cure, even though you may be taking medication to treat the infection it will still be easily passed on to someone else until the infection has been treated.

What is the difference between Valaciclovir and Aciclovir?

Valaciclovir only needs to be taken twice a day instead of the 5 times a day dose Aciclovir needs. It is also said to be better absorbed by the body than Aciclovir. It works by inhibiting any DNA of the virus and prevents herpes from multiplying and spreading.

Can you take Valaciclovir if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?

It is not usually recommended to use this medicine while pregnant or breastfeeding. Check with your doctor if you are worried. They will be able to assess if it will be safe for you to take while pregnant or breastfeeding.

What do the tablets look like?

These tablets can vary in colour, usually white or blue. They are oblong in shape.

What other names might I come across for Valaciclovir?

This treatment for genital herpes is often sold under the brand names Valtrex or Zelitrex; these medicines are also used to treat the virus that causes genital herpes.

Is HSV anything to do with HIV?

Having genital herpes can increase your risk of being infected with HIV; it can also create serious problems for people who already have HIV. If you have genital herpes, you are more likely to become infected with HIV during sexual contact.You should avoid having sex until your genital herpes has cleared.

Can I drink while taking this medication?

Alcohol is a known trigger for the virus, so you should try to avoid consuming it while using this treatment.

Do I still need to complete treatment even if the symptoms clear up?

Yes, to ensure effective treatment of the herpes simplex virus, you must complete your course of medicine as instructed by your doctor, even if your symptoms have gone.

When should I start Valaciclovir treatment?

Begin this treatment as soon as possible; your doctor will advise you on how and when to take this medicine during your consultation.

How will I know if I have genital herpes?

The common symptoms of this condition are: Pain when you urinate, Small blisters that burst to leave open, red sores around your genitals, anus, bottom or thighs, Tingling, itching or burning sensation around your genitals, Women may experience unusual vaginal discharge. Seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms.

Valaciclovir Side Effects

The more common adverse reactions you may experience while using Valaciclovir can be found on the main page.

In rarer cases, you may suffer from one or more of the below side effects. Speak to your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Tremors
  • Feeling agitated
  • Hallucinations
  • Feeling confused
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Rash
  • Lower back pain
  • Blood in your urine
  • Fits or convulsions
  • Altered brain function
  • Unsteadiness when stood up or walking
  • Slow or slurred speech
  • Coma

These may show up in blood test results:

  • Reduction in the number of white blood cells
  • Reduction in the number of blood platelets
  • Increase in substances produced by your liver

In rare instances, you may suffer from a severe allergic reaction to taking Valaciclovir and require immediate treatment in hospital. You should either go to A&E or call 999 immediately if you have any of the below symptoms:

  • You are wheezing
  • You have a skin rash that is red, itchy, blistered, peeling or swollen
  • You are finding it hard to speak or breathe
  • You have tightness in the chest or throat
  • You have swelling in the face, throat, lips, tongue or mouth

Always read the patient information leaflet thoroughly for a comprehensive list of side effects and how to cope with them.

Valaciclovir Warnings and drug interactions

Certain drugs may interact with Valaciclovir and hinder its effectiveness in treating your symptoms.

You should always make sure your doctor is aware of any medicine you are currently taking. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medication, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking:

  • Organoplatinum compounds
  • Aminoglycosides
  • Foscarnet
  • Ciclosporin
  • Tacrolimus
  • Cimetidine
  • Iodinated contrast media
  • Probenecid
  • Methotrexate
  • Pentamidine

Always read the patient information leaflet for full advice on other medicines you should be cautious of.

If you order this medication online, it should only be with a pharmacy that is registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council, such as Medicine Direct.

One of our certified doctors will prescribe you this medication if they think it is a suitable treatment for your condition of genital herpes.

Order before 2pm and your medicine will be with you the next day.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Valaciclovir is not normally recommended to be taken by women who are pregnant. If you are currently pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant, you should make sure your doctor is aware before they prescribe you this medicine. They will weigh up the pros and cons of your taking Valaciclovir and prescribe what they deem the most appropriate treatment for you.

Similarly, you should inform your doctor if you are currently breastfeeding, before you start to use the medicine.

Valaciclovir Ingredients

The active ingredient contained in this treatment is valaciclovir.

Inactive ingredients also contained are: Cellulose, microcrystalline, crospovidone (Type A), povidone (K-90), magnesium stearate.

Delivery Company Delivery Service Price Details
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DPD UK Next Day Delivery Tracked Saturday Delivery £9.95

Delivery specified for Saturday

Order Friday by 2pm (subject to Dr approval)

Please note that next day delivery to Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands & Islands and British Isles cannot be guaranteed. Please contact our team for more information.

Written byHussain Abdeh MPharm: 2211840

Updated on: 04/06/2021

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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