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About Valtrex

If you use Valtrex, please help others by adding your feedback. What would you tell your best friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

Subj: Bad headache
Date: 11/5/2007
I was just prescribed Valtrex 1g 3 times a day to treat what my doctor says is Shingles. I have only taken two doses and I have a pretty bad headache. Is this a normal side effect? Will it go away? I am also concerned because I am 29 with what I believe to be a normal immune system and I got Shingles? Is that normal? Thank you for your help.

AskDocWeb: Headaches are one of the possible side effect of Valtrex. If they do not go away with Tylenol and they are so bad that you can't stand them, consult with your physician. Shingles (herpes zoster) is caused by reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox (varicella-zoster). Even though your immune system seems normal stress or illness can reactivate the virus.

Subj: CMV and CEBV
Date: 11/7/2007
I have a prescription for Valtrex because I have been diagnosed with CMV and CEBV. I have been ill for 4 years. In the Doctor's comments it said that Valtrex has been used as a prophylactic medication to treat these illnesses. I have a 3-month prescription. Is that a long enough period to cause my symptoms to become dormant? Thanks for your help.

AskDocWeb: The CDC estimates that between 50% and 80% of adults in the United States are infected with CMV by age 40. Currently there is no recommended treatment for CMV infection in healthy individuals. Although CMV (cytomegalovirus) is in the same Herpesviruses group as EBV (Epstein-Barr virus or infectious mononucleosis), it is a different virus and will likely require a different treatment.

Subj: Long term effects of Valtrex
Date: 11/9/2007
What are the long term effects from taking Valtrex?

AskDocWeb: There doesn't seem to be any long-term studies on Valtrex. Readers that have used Valtrex for more than a year are encouraged to share your experience with this drug.

Subj: Valtrex causing outbreaks?
Date: 11/13/2007
I had a vaginal outbreak and was diagnosed through blood work with HSV1. I was on Valtrex 500mg daily for about 3 years. Throughout the past year I had been getting outbreaks pretty regularly even with the Valtrex. About a month and a half ago I ran out of Valtrex and had no health insurance. With the cost being too high I just decided to stop taking the Valtrex and deal with whatever came my way. Since I've been off the Valtrex I've been outbreak free compared to what seemed like nonstop pain for the last year. Is it at all possible that the Valtrex was causing the outbreaks instead of preventing them?

AskDocWeb: We have seen nothing that would indicate that Valtrex would cause outbreaks but a couple of people have reported the same experience.

Subj: A few things have hit home
Date: 11/14/2007
I have been on suppressive Valtrex therapy for HSV-2 close to 3 years. I have not had any breakouts in that time. I thought the drug was great. However, after reading a lot of these posts a few things have hit home and now possibly make sense. In the last three years, I have accumulated joint pain (knees and hips) and I have frequent urination (*almost to a ridiculous level when "lightly" drinking alcohol or caffeine 1-2 cups/glasses). I take 500mg a day (36yr old male). After reading these posts I am starting to consider going off it for a bit and seeing if the joint pain and frequent urination subside. I am first going to consult my physician.

Subj: Headaches caused by the Valtrex
Date: 11/15/2007
My wife has been taking Valtrex and she gets the worst headaches from it. Ibuprofen and Tylenol don't touch it, hydrocodone today didn't help it, and she takes Realpacks for migraines that temporarily helped. This afternoon she went home able to functioning at the minimum due to the migraine after short relief from the assistance of the realpack. She has had Catscans, MRI's, Xray's and many other tests that have negative results. The mylogram she recently had caused a Shingles outburst that caused severe pain and numbness in both legs. Is there anything to counteract the headaches caused by the Valtrex?

AskDocWeb: It depends on the severity. You might ask your doctor about a Toradol 60 mg injection, Maxalt or Imitrex.

Subj: Severe tiredness
Date: 11/19/2007
I've suffered from stress induced cold sores since high school (25 years. ago). I had a month long "bout" with cold sores over the summer. I was under unusual stress and couldn't get rid of them. My doc. prescribed 1gram/day for one month. Usually I take 500mg upon the first sign of a tingle and after 3-4 days of treatment, they're gone. Anyway, I was on Valtrex for a month straight and experience severe tiredness. I mean, I can fall asleep at a moment's notice. I've been off it for 7 weeks now (no more episodes) but I'm still so tired. I haven't read anything about tiredness as a side effect. Any thoughts?

AskDocWeb: I cannot see where Valtrex would have caused such fatigue with the severity you're talking about although decreased consciousness has been reported. Please report this to your doctor.

Subj: Valtrex and beer
Date: 11/20/2007
I normally have like 5 cans of beer that is 4% alcohol, usually everyday, would I have any adverse affects of this medication? Presently this is my first I had my infection in 4 months, I am going to take 500 mg, should I be worried?

AskDocWeb: There is no reason to be concerned about the interaction of beer and Valtrex, there isn't any. And beer does not affect the effectiveness of Valtrex. However, you might want to start worrying about your drinking problem.

Subj: Bruises on legs and arms
Date: 11/20/2007
I have been on valtrex for suppression for two months. Now I have bruises all over my legs and arms since starting it, is this a side effect? And is it dangerous?

AskDocWeb: These bruises should be checked by your physician.

Subj: Chest pains
Date: 11/20/2007
I just recently started taking Valtrex for a skin condition, which may or may not be Herpes I on my neck and around my eyes. I also regularly take Claritin D 24 hour. After 3 days, I was a mess. I became extremely agitated and shakey. I would wake up out of a deep sleep because my heart would be pounding so hard and irregularly. I stopped taking the Claritin, but still found that I could not take the 1 gram of Valtrex after 3pm, otherwise I would wake up that night with a pounding, irregular heartbeat. Now I have mild(phantom?) chest pains whenever I take the Valtrex. Has anyone had a similar experience? Is it safe to continue taking this drug?

AskDocWeb: A rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations are side effects of Valtrex. Please discuss this with your doctor.

Subj: Reverse an allergy?
Date: 11/23/2007
I get really bad cold sores on my lower lip. My glands swell, and the pain makes it to my ear. My doctor gave my Valtrex, and after the 2nd dose, my upper lip and right nostril swelled. Is there another anti-viral alternative if I'm allergic to Valtrex? Is there any way to reverse the allergy?

AskDocWeb: This is a problem that is not limited to just Valtrex. Allergic responses also happen with antibiotics, chemotherapy agents, aspirin, insulin, interferons and other drugs. Your options are limited but there is hope. At the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, Dr Mariana Castells has created standard protocols for a new Rapid Desensitization Program for Adverse Drug Reactions that prevents a hypersensitivity reaction (HSR). "By slowly re-introducing small increasing amounts," Dr. Castells explains, "the medication falls below the immune system's radar, preventing the activation of the mast cells. This allows the patient to receive full therapeutic doses. Once desensitized, the patient can continue to receive the medication indefinitely, such as for patients with coronary artery disease who need daily aspirin for cardiac protection." The desensitization program may eventually be applied to many drugs.

Subj: Could Valtrex cause yeast infections?
Date: 11/26/2007
I've taken valtrex for cold sores, but 3 days after I had yeast infections. Could this be one of the side effects of it? It really works for my cold sores. Please answer.

AskDocWeb: Yeast infections are not a side effect of Valtrex. You are more likely to have a yeast infection with an outbreak of genital herpes whether you take Valtrex or not.

Subj: Side effects from Valtrex worse
Date: 11/28/2007
I'm writing for my husband who unfortunately contracted herpes. He was given Zovirex then switched to Valtrex due to bad side effects. The side effects from the Valtrex were worse. He had horrible stiffness in his back and neck, was unable to put reasonable thought together most of the day, and noticed a change in his eyesight to mention a few things. It completely changed his personality from being a vibrant 46 year old to being a zombie. Any alcohol he consumed made everything worse to the point where he didn't remember what he was saying and he was very nasty. We made the decision together to take him off the Valtrex and use condoms during non-outbreak times. Don't know how effective that will be yet - hopefully it will be okay. But at least he's back to his old self. It took about 2 weeks for the Valtrex to leave his system and he was only on it for just over a month. I take serious issue with this product. I think they don't have a clue yet as to all of the side effects and long term effects, such as on your kidneys. We were simply not willing to see such a change in him and take such a risk with his future health.

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2007-2008 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Valtrex and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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