Valaciclovir

  • 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

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Valaciclovir 500mg Tablets for herpes treatment

Genital herpes affects up to 23% of adults in the UK. Flare ups can often be painful and embarrassing. Whilst there is no cure for Herpes, fortunately antiviral medication such as Valaciclovir 400mg tablets can be purchased online from Medicine Direct which can help to reduce the painful and embarrassing symptoms of herpes as soon as they start to appear.

What is Valaciclovir?

Valaciclovir is an antiviral medicine that is widely used to treat the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can be used in the treatment of genital herpes, cold sores and also to prevent HSV infections in the eyes.

It is also available as a branded version, Valtrex.

To buy Valaciclovir tablets, you must have a prescription. This medicine can be taken by adults and children over the age of 12.

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).

The herpes infection comes as two different types. HSV-1 is responsible for cold sores around the mouth. HSV-2 causes genital herpes. A benefit of Valaciclovir is that it can treat both versions. It helps to heal the blisters and stop the spread of the virus. 

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).

How does Valaciclovir work?

Valaciclovir is quickly converted into aciclovir once it has been ingested. This antiviral medication works by inhibiting the viral DNA polymerase. It does this by blocking an enzyme within the virus. This stops the virus from being able to reproduce and spread. As a result, your immune system is able to kill the virus.

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.

How to take Valaciclovir

Read the patient information leaflet for instructions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.

Swallow Valaciclovir tablets whole with a drink of water. Do not crush or chew the tablets.

These tablets can be taken with or without food but should be taken at the same time(s) each day.

It is important that you keep taking Valaciclovir for as long as your doctor has told you to, even if you start to notice your symptoms improving. Prematurely stopping your treatment may make the problem come back.

If you are over the age of 65 or have any kidney problems, it is imperative that you drink plenty of water throughout the day. This will help to minimise the risk of side effects that can affect the kidneys or nervous system.

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
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

This medication is not suitable for children under the age of 12 years old.

This information may not be exhaustive. Always read the patient information leaflet for full details on why Valaciclovir may not be suitable for you to take.

Common Valaciclovir 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 or Aciclovir?

Valaciclovir has been found to be more effective at reducing pain in patients with herpes symptoms. In fact, it was shown to reduce pain up to 25% quicker than aciclovir.

Can you buy Valaciclovir 500mg tablets over the counter?

No, Valaciclovir is a prescription-only medicine and not for sale over the counter.

Can you buy Valaciclovir 500mg online in the UK?

You can buy Valaciclovir online from regulated pharmacies like Medicine Direct. Before your order will be confirmed, however, you must complete a confidential online consultation to ensure that this medication is suitable for you. One of our registered doctors, pharmacists or prescribers will review your condition and answers to ensure Valaciclovir is the best treatment.

Next day delivery is available if you order by 2pm.

For your own safety, do not order any prescription or non-prescription medicine online unless it is from a regulated pharmacy, like Medicine Direct. Full details of who regulates our company can be seen on the About Us page.

Valaciclovir alternatives

The branded version of Valaciclovir (Valtrex) is also available to buy from our pharmacy. This medicine will work to treat genital herpes and other problems in the same way as generic Valaciclovir.

Aciclovir 400mg tablets are also stocked in our pharmacy and can be ordered after completing an online consultation.

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.

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.

Can I drink alcohol while taking Valaciclovir


There are no known interactions between alcohol and Valaciclovir. However, alcohol can impair the immune system, which may make it harder for the medication to treat your problem.

Can antivirals make my immune system weaker?


Studies have suggested that the inhibitory effects of antiviral medicines may deteriorate the immune system if taken for long periods. Tell your doctor if you have a weakened immune system.

Is Valaciclovir harmful to the kidneys?


This medicine can cause side effects that affect the kidneys. You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines or if you have ever suffered from any kidney problems. They may adjust the dose you need to take.

Can I reduce the risk of side effects?


You can take Valaciclovir with or without food. However, to reduce the risk of side effects that affect the kidneys, you should drink plenty of water throughout the day. This is especially important if you have any kidney problems or are over 65.

Can it cause fatigue?


Valaciclovir can cause side effects like feeling confused or very tired. However, these side effects are uncommon and may only affect 1 in every 100 people who take it. If you feel fatigued or worn down while taking Valaciclovir, tell your doctor.

Can I take ibuprofen with Valaciclovir?


Research has found no interactions between Valaciclovir and ibuprofen. It is always best to speak to your doctor or pharmacist, to make sure it is safe to take other medicines at the same time as Valaciclovir.

Can I take it without food?


Yes, Valaciclovir can be taken with or without food. However, you should take the recommended doses at the same time(s) each day.

Is there anything I shouldn’t do while taking Valaciclovir?


If you are taking this medicine to treat genital warts, you are advised to not have sexual intercourse as this can spread the herpes virus to your partner. If you do have sex, you should always wear a condom to limit the risk. Do not touch the affected area and then touch your eyes.

What are Valaciclovir 500mg tablets used for?


Valaciclovir is used to treat the symptoms caused by Herpes Simplex such as cold sores and genital herpes. It slows the spread of infection and reduces the appearance of cold sores.

Will Valaciclovir stop me from being contagious?


If you still have visible symptoms you will still be contagious and can still pass on the virus. You must wait until all symptoms have cleared before you kiss and have sex.

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.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Valaciclovir is not considered to be harmful to a baby and does not increase the risk of birth defects. You can find out more information on taking Valaciclovir when pregnant on the Mother to Baby website.

Valaciclovir Ingredients

The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Valaciclovir hydrochloride

For a full list of the inactive ingredients, please read the Summary of Product Characteristics

Delivery Company Delivery Service Price Details
Royal Mail UK Delivery Standard UK Tracked £2.99 3 - 4 Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Delivery - Tracked £5.95 Order by 2pm (subject to Dr approval) Next Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Tracked Morning Delivery by 12:00pm £12.95 Next Working Day Morning Delivery by 12:00pm
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.

Medically reviewed byHussain Abdeh MPharm: 2211840

Updated on: 26/08/2021

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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