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About Valtrex

If you use Valtrex, please help others by sharing your experience with side effects. 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: Severe abdominal and renal pain
Date: 12/21/2010
I take valtrex for supression purposes. I have taken it for about 12 years...It always does the trick. The only problem I have is, sometimes (not everytime) when I take the medication I get severe abdominal and renal pain that lasts for 12-24 hours. It is the kind of pain that keeps me balled up on the sofa with a heating pad unable to get up and function at all...Sometimes it is so severe that it scares me. Other than that one thing, I wouldn't know what to do without it. So do I take the bad for the good???

AskDocWeb: About 11% of patients taking Valtrex suffer abdominal pains. However, pain that is debilitating should be discussed with your doctor.

Note that if the abdominal pain is just stomach upset that can sometimes be avoided by taking medication with a full glass of water or food.

Subj: Skin rashes and itchy hot welts
Date: 12/21/2010
How much Mg. dosage per day is safe/should you take for Suppressive therapy for genital herpes. I have been taking it for many years, 500mg twice a day for outbreaks. I get an outbreak every 45 days or so. It's very effective; however I get skin rashes now when I'm on it, Itchy hot welts. Not severe. Should I be concerned? My skin seems very sensitive to lotion, heat or friction from clothing. Am I taking too much?

AskDocWeb: Skin rashes and itchy welts should be reported to your doctor. These symptoms may be the result of developing an allergic reaction.

Subj: Confusion
Date: 1/2/2011
I'm a transplant patient that has been using Valtrex to keep away recurring mouth sores, sore tonsils, and possibly viruses such shingles. I'm concerned about an interaction of my meds or the Valtrex that may be causing me some confusion. I didn't suffer from it before I started the Valtrex, about 4 months ago. Would you know if this could be caused by a mere 500mg dose daily?

AskDocWeb: Confusion is one of less common side effects of Valtrex however, if you would list your meds by name then we could check for possible drug interactions and find out if confusion is a side effect of those meds.

Subj: Anal herpes?
Date: 1/12/2011
Can Valtrex also treat anal herpes?

AskDocWeb: Yes, Valtrex is used to treat several different herpes viruses, including anal infections.

Subj: Effect of Valtrex on the efficacy of Zostavax?
Date: 1/18/2011
What effect does Valtrex have on the efficacy of Zostavax? Should Valtrex be stopped prior to administration of Zostavax?

AskDocWeb: According to the CDC antiviral drugs active against herpes viruses may reduce the effectiveness of live attenuated varicella vaccine. These drugs should be discontinued at least 24 hours before the administration of varicella vaccine. Persons taking famciclovir, Acyclovir, or valacyclovir(Valtrex) should not use these drugs for at least 14 days after vaccination, by which time the immunologic effect should be established.

Subj: Breast augmentation surgery
Date: 1/29/2011
Is it safe to undergo surgery such as breast augmentation if I am taking valtrex? I am concerned because I am afraid of having increased complications.

AskDocWeb: It is important to discuss with your surgeon what complications are possible and a herpes outbreak is one of them. Your doctor may choose Valtrex to reduce the possibility of complications during surgery, recovery, and the healing process afterward.

Subj: 2 questions about Valtrex
Date: 2/4/2011
I have been taking Veltrex 1000 mg for over 3 years now and I have 2 questions. One is if I cant afford it and stop taking it for a month is that ok because I cant this month at all. so I have not taken it. what will happen?

And my second question is, I have the doc right me it for 1000 mg but I told her this too that I cut it in half and only take 500mg and it is fine. On the meds I have never had any signs or symptoms other than sad and depressed, angry all the time. I take a genaric for welbutrin to help with it but it has not seemed to help. I have no sex drive at all. I hate sex I guess. I dont get turned on or in the mood ever... is that part of it. thank you,
Kassie from NY

AskDocWeb: Without the Valtrex you are more likely to have an outbreak and if one does occur it is likely to take longer to heal. Agitation and aggressive behavior are rare side effects of Valtrex. However, the emotional and psychological impact of contracting herpes often changes a person's attitude about sex. Remember that strong emotional stress weakens the immune system and increases the chances of an outbreak.

Subj: Allergic reaction to Valtrex?
Date: 2/4/2011
This is really a question not a review. I have been on valtrex for about 5 days now for a genital herpes OB. My outbreak is almost gone but I have burning worse than when than when I had sores. Is this a allergic reaction to valtrex? If it is, is there anything else I can take for a suppressant or will I be allergic to them all?

AskDocWeb: Allergic reactions typically involve skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, and/or tongue. The burning you describe sounds more like a prodrome, which is a warning sign or indication that the virus is becoming active, and is on its way to the skin's surface. The symptoms of prodromes may include:
  • itching
  • tingling
  • numbness
  • burning
A herpes prodrome often occurs at the site where blisters will later form and can last from 2 hours to 2 days.

Subj: Depression
Date: 2/7/2011
if you get depression from valtrex how long does it TAKE FOR THE MEDICINE TO LEAVE YOUR SYSTEM?

AskDocWeb: The half-life of Valtrex ranges from 2.5 to 3.3 hours so it clears your system pretty quickly. Half-life refers to the amount of time required for half the drug to leave your system. Most of it should be out of your system within 24 hours.

Subj: No cold or flu
Date: 2/19/2011
I've been taking Valtrex daily for a about a year, I have no problems with taking it but was wondering if there were any studies done on Valtrex and the common cold? This is the first cold season that I have not come down with a cold or flu. Thanks.

AskDocWeb: Lucky you! Studies have shown that just by washing your hand more frequently you can reduce the chances of getting a cold or the flu by 50%. However, Valtrex does not work on those types of viruses. The effects of Valtrex are limited to the herpes virus.

Subj: More frequent outbreaks?
Date: 2/20/2011
I've been on Valtrex for a month now. I've had Herpes for 14 yrs and just now getting treatment. I take 500mg 1 a day, but since i started the med. i have more outbreaks.. (like 3 at a time) before i would only have 1 a month (but it was a severe 1) Why are they more frequent now?

AskDocWeb: There are several reasons why a person might suddenly start having more frequent outbreaks:
  • Deep Stress: Intense emotions such as anger, grief and fear are known triggers for outbreaks. Examples include difficulties with family members, romantic relationships, interpersonal conflicts at your job, and significant worry about finances.
  • Prolonged Stress:There are numerous studies that have demonstrated a link between chronic psychological stress and the weakening of the immune system. Issues that go unresolved for a long period of time have a cumulative effect on the immune system, which makes a person more prone to outbreaks.
  • Fatigue: When you get tired, your body has to work harder in order to keep going. This reduces or uses up some of your immune system's ability to defend the body. When the body is stressed by fatigue, viral activity can increase and more outbreaks can occur.
  • Tight Clothes: Many people with genital herpes have found that tight clothing, especially tight fitting undergarments, can stimulate outbreaks. If you are suffering with frequent outbreaks make sure that garments in the pelvic area are not constricting.
  • Ultraviolet Light (UV): Exposure from sunlight or tanning salons is known to re-activate oral herpes infections. Many people with oral herpes use a sunscreen of Factor 25 or higher on the face prior to UV exposure. People with genital Herpes benefit from avoiding sun bathing in the nude and use of tanning beds in the nude.
One of the rare complications associated with the use of Valtrex is neutropenia, which is a blood disorder characterized by a decreased number of white blood cells in the blood. This often results in a weakened immune system, making the patients more likely to acquire infection and creating a longer wound healing time. It may also account for an increase in outbreaks.

Subj: No withdrawal symptoms?
Date: 2/21/2011
I have been on 1,000 mg of valacyclovir since the first week of January 2011 for Mollaret's meningitis. Prior to that, I either took acyclovir or Valtrex when I was getting meningitis, but still wound up in the hospital three times (a week each time). I understand there is no cure, and so my doctor wanted to try prophylactic Valtrex, one gram per day. By mid February I could feel I was swollen, like I had gained 10 lbs. or so, as all my clothes were suddenly tight and uncomfortable and I was also beginning to have depression. Aside from that, I started having shortness of breath and my kidneys were hurting.

My infectious disease doctor said you HAVE to drink lots of water with this, something I had not been told (and should have read). He described what was happening as being like a thousand needles (crystalization) sticking the insides of my kidneys. I felt terrible, with joint pain and irritability. I was told to stop it immediately.

Now, I read that you say there are no withdrawal symptoms, but I sure have been sick since I stopped it! I am only beginning to feel like I can get up and try to take a shower today. I have no idea what I will take when/if I get meningitis again, and that alone is enough to make me depressed! As for no withdrawal symptoms, perhaps the side effects I mentioned are dissipating, but I am wondering if it might not be withdrawal, as well.

AskDocWeb: It sounds like you may have had multiple problems occurring simultaneously. It is helpful to make a distinction between possible withdrawal symptoms and the symptoms experienced while recovering from an allergic reaction and the symptoms of dehydration.

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2010-2011 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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