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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: Leg pain and numbness
Date: 2/25/2011
I am taking Vlatrex for shingles. I do not have the rash, but have the other symptoms. I have been taking it for 4 days now. Today my toes are a little numb, and my legs are achy. Is this a side effect of Valtrex, or could it be a side effect of the shingles?

AskDocWeb: Yes, the shingles virus (herpes zoster) can attack the nerves causing numbness instead of the pain that is commonly associated with shingles. If the virus damages a nerve, you may have numbness, tingling, or pain long after the rash is healed. About 11% of Valtrex users experience abdominal pain but leg pain is not listed as a side effect.

Subj: Change in period?
Date: 3/4/2011
Can your period be late due to valtrex or valacyclovir??

AskDocWeb: Yes, menstrual problems are listed as a side effect and several women have reported the same experience. Up to 8% of women using Valtrex have painful menstrual periods. However, it could also to be caused by stress.

Subj: Hallucinations
Date: 3/6/2011
I have had hallucinations is that a permant side effect or only when your on the drug I took 2 one gram pills only

AskDocWeb: For those who experienced hallucinations while using Valtrex, this uncommon side effect stopped when the drug was discontinued. It is not permanent.

Subj: Valtrex every day?
Date: 3/15/2011
Can Valtrex be taken every day for controling herpes even after there are no signs of an outbrakes or any symptoms? Thank You,

AskDocWeb: Taking Valtrex every day is one of the treatment options for herpes. It is called suppression therapy, which reduces both the number and severity of outbreaks.

Subj: My cold sore has already healed
Date: 3/21/2011
I've been prescribed valtrex. However, my cold sore is already scabbed and in the last phase. Is there a need to take the medication now when it seems my cold sore has already healed?

AskDocWeb: That question could be rephrased as, "Is it okay to stop treatment before the treatment is complete?" If you stop supporting your body's healing process when it is in the last phase of healing the cold sore, it may cause a regression of your condition.

Subj: Epstein Barr virus
Date: 3/30/2011
What is the dosage of Valtrex needed to treat Epstein Barr virus? (ie. how many mg/per day and for how long?)

AskDocWeb: The use of Valtrex to treat the Epstein Barr virus is NOT approved by the FDA. That is considered an "off-label" use as it is still being researched. Dr. A. Martin Lerner at the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome foundation is the leading authority in this research. It appears that they start patients at 1 gram per day and gradually increase up to 6 grams every 24 hours. Here is their latest update. The update is a PDF file that you can print out and take to your doctor. Good luck Michele and keep us informed about how it goes!

Date: 3/30/2011
I am a Ginecology doctor in Venezuela, so Im looking for any medical report about this problem: My wife had a cesarean section for twins two years ago, after begin with Herpes virus infection, Encephalitis, Pharingitis in many times. She Had a Inmunology Laboratory normal 1 year ago. Will Be necesary another Inmunology studies to Diagnosis a probably Supression Inmunology? Thanks

AskDocWeb: It appears that we may have a translation problem. It is not clear what you are asking.

Subj: How long does it take?
Date: 4/7/2011
I've only been taking valtrex for three days but I wanted to know long the drug takes to reach it's full effect?

AskDocWeb: Valtrex reaches its maximum effect within 2 to 3 hours.

Subj: Liver enzymes
Date: 4/8/2011
I just found out that my liver enzymes are 5x the normal range. The Dr thinks its the Valtrex. Please get your liver tested regularly. According to my Dr it happens often.

Subj: Herpes link to Alzheimer's disease?
Date: 4/9/2011
I read today that herpes are possible contributors to Alzheimer's disease. The recommendation is to suppress them by antiviral drugs like Valtrex. I noticed that older people with herpes taking Valtrex were blaming the drug for dementia, loss of memory etc, It looks like it is the other way around, the herpes contributed to AD. Can you please clarify that? This seems a very serious discovery. Thank you.

AskDocWeb: Thanks Lydia, and welcome to the forum. There is a growing amount of research that supports the theory that the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) is linked to Alzheimer's disease. HSV1 is the cause of common cold sores. It is already known that the major component of senile plaques found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease is composed of amyloid precursor protein (APP), which attacks and destroys the cells responsible for memory, language, and physical functions.

What is new is that, by using a new imaging technique, researchers can now watch the herpes virus burst out of infected cells and bud into tissue containing APP. This causes dynamic changes in the cell structure and the normal distribution of APP. It appears that as long as the virus is active it continues to move up the nerve chain where more and more of it accumulates in the brain. Of course this adds to the importance of getting treatment quickly to minimize the amount of time that the virus is actively traveling through a person's nervous system.

Hats off to the Laboratories at the University of New Mexico (UNM), Brown University, and House Ear Institute (HEI) for developing the new technique to observe HSV1 infections growing inside cells. The technique involves tagging the herpes virus inside living cells with a green fluorescent protein. Live confocal imaging is then used to watch the HSV1 particles emerge from infected cells. The electron microscope at HEI shows the details of the structural relationship between HSV1 particles and APP. This research strongly suggests a causal link between HSV1 and Alzheimer's Disease. However, the significance of this involvement will require more research.

Subj: Valtrex or Acyclovir?
Date: 4/11/2011
I just want to ask your opinion which is better to take Valtrex or Acyclovir...I've been taking Valtrex but it seems that I have more outbreak aso I have abdominal pain...I think of switching to acyclovir...whaic has more side effects? Thanks

AskDocWeb: Valtrex has a few more side effects than Acyclovir. Valtrex is an Acyclovir prodrug. When Valtrex enters your digestive system it is converted into Acyclovir making 55% of the drug available to the body to suppress the virus. When taking Acyclovir only about 15% of what is taken is made available to the body after passing through your digestive system. This is why the dosage is higher with Acyclovir. More of the medication is destroyed by the digestive system.

Subj: Valtrex for chronic fatigue syndrome
Date: 4/22/2011
I've been using Valtrex (the generic form) for "chronic fatigue syndrome". I've only been on it for two and a half weeks but I already feel a dramatic improvement in health. I would never have believed it could be this effective so quickly. The only side effects I've had were headaches the first week (which have now disappeared), and joint pain. I think the joint pain is a side effect of the drug but can't be sure. Is it listed as one? Other than that, doing very, very well on it and hoping the improvement I'm experiencing will continue long term.

AskDocWeb: Yes, about 6% of patients taking Valtrex experience joint pain. Glad to hear that Valtrex is providing such a dramatic improvement in your symptoms.

Subj: What happens if you take too many Valtrex?
Date: 5/10/2011
I took Valtrex yesterday about a week after itching began as i have come on holiday and could not find pharmacy, and having scratched, my skin had broken around my vagina area. I took 3 yesterday (1st day of course) and 1 this morning, so far no difference, still itching and the skin will not heal. If you take too many is it possible to make it worse? i was diagnosed with herpes over 10 years ago and the last attack was in 2004.

AskDocWeb: Taking too many is not likely to make the infection worse but it could cause other problems. If you suspect an overdose, check with your doctor immediately.

The effects of a Valtrex overdose vary depending on a number of factors, including how much you were supposed to take, how much you took, and whether it was taken with any other medication or alcohol. The effects of a Valtrex overdose may include:
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Confusion
  • Decreased urine output
  • Drowsiness, headache, or back pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nervous system problems
  • Seizures
  • Speech problems
  • Tremors
  • Unsteady or shaky movements
High doses of Valtrex have proved dangerous in people whose immune system is compromised because of HIV infection, bone marrow transplant, or kidney transplant. When taken by people with kidney disorders excessive doses of Valtrex have been known to cause psychological problems and kidney failure. It is important that you seek medical attention immediately if you believe that you may have taken am overdose of Valtrex.

Subj: Valtrex and depression
Date: 5/18/2011
I started Valtrex three weeks ago and then shortly after I stopped taking it because of feeling depressed. I have multiple sclerosis and epstein barr and chronic fatigue. I just went back on the valtrex because I do not feel well. Has anyone else experienced the depression that is reported?

AskDocWeb: Yes, of the patients taking Valtrex, from 5% to 7% of users report depression as a side effect.

Subj: Valtrex with Zoloft?
Date: 5/20/2011
Is it safe to take valtrex and Zoloft together?

AskDocWeb: Our database does not list any drug interactions between Valtrex and Zoloft - however this does not necessarily mean that no drug interactions exist. Always consult with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure. Here are the drugs that Valtrex is known to interact with:
  • AccessPak for HIV PEP, both Basic and Expanded
  • Alimta (pemetrexed)
  • Atripla (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir)
  • Baraclude (entecavir)
  • Benemid (probenecid)
  • CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil)
  • Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine)
  • Demerol (meperidine)
  • Equaline Acid Reducer (cimetidine)
  • Hepsera (adefovir)
  • Mepergan (meperidine / promethazine)
  • Meperitab (meperidine)
  • Meprozine (meperidine / promethazine)
  • Myfortic (mycophenolic acid)
  • Namenda (memantine)
  • Proben-C (colchicine / probenecid)
  • Probenecid and Colchicine (colchicine / probenecid)
  • Regurin (trospium)
  • Retrovir (zidovudine)
  • Sanctura (trospium)
  • Tagamet (cimetidine)
  • Trizivir (abacavir / lamivudine / zidovudine)
  • Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir)
  • Viread (tenofovir)

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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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