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About ValtrexIf 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: Shingles or post herpetic neuralgia?
I was diagnosed with Ramsey Hunt syndrome three years ago. Since then I have had several "recurrences" without the lesions--just pain. I also get a fluish feeling and take 500 mg Valtrex 2X day. Valtrex is hard to tolerate more than this. The pain resolves after about 5 days and I often stop the meds because of side effects. My question is, am I getting actual shingles or is this post herpetic neuralgia? What is the difference? Any suggestion on how to cope with side effects (fatique, depression, headache). Thanks.
AskDocWeb: Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles. You could call it an after-effect. It is caused by the damage to peripheral nerve fibers that occurs during a shingles infection. It is important to know that your risk of developing postherpetic neuralgia is cut in half if you begin taking Valtrex within 72 hours of developing a shingles rash.
Given that postherpetic neuralgia affects every patient differently, effective pain relief methods also vary. Applying firm pressure at the site may temporarily reduce the pain. Depending on the location of the affected area, you may get some relief by keeping the body firmly pressed against a chair back or other object, or keeping something pressed tightly against the area helps some patients relieve pain. Cooling the skin with ice or a cool, wet cloth helps some people while others prefer warm compresses. Some patients cut holes in their clothing around the areas in pain to prevent contact with the skin. One bit of encouraging news: For some people the symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia improve over time without treatment. You doctor may have other ways to help you cope including pain relievers, antidepressants, and/or anticonvulsants.
Subj: Can I use Valtrex if I have only 1 kidney?
I donated a kidney to my sister, so I only have one, is it safe for me to take valtrex?
AskDocWeb: In general when a kidney is donated, the remaining kidney pretty much takes over the detoxifying capabilities of two kidneys. However, a concern does exist for those taking Valtrex because patients with kidney problems may have a higher chance for getting side effects or more kidney problems. Having only one kidney doesn't rule out the use of Valtrex but your doctor may decide to give you a lower dose. Obviously you want to avoid excess medications. The meds that are most often associated with kidney problems are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at high doses. Kidney failure is not common, but can be serious in some patients taking Valtrex.
A person with only one kidney can still lead an active, normal life. Studies have shown that one kidney is sufficient to keep the body functioning in a healthy manor.
Subj: Valtrex is a miracle drug
Many people have posted how unbearable the itching can be with HSV2. I have found success with Vagisil Extra Strength and Vagisil Extra Strength towelettes. (The only way I could sleep was Advil PM plus using Vagisil.) I haven't noticed much difference with Lysine, but I do find increasing my intake of fresh orange juice or lemonade helps. In spite of the side effects, Valtrex is a miracle drug.
AskDocWeb: Thanks Rylee. Combe Incorporated makes a whole line of Vagisil feminine hygiene products. They also make a test kit you can use to find out if what you have is a yeast infection or STD.
Subj: Nausea and dizziness
I have taken an 8 day course of Valtrex, 2 pill 3 times a day to treat an outbreak of shingles on my face. While taking the drugs I did notice that the blisters did go down significantly but I had mild dizziness/ nausea on and off - definitely worth it to make me look normal again - I had Shingles on and in my eyes too. I finished taking my last 2 tables 3 days ago but I am still getting the nausea/ dizziness, worse than when taking the drugs and within 36 hours of finishing the Valtrex I developed rashes all over my face ( it was mostly cleared by the end of the course of treatment). The skin on my face is also grainy and very sensitive to eerything - moisturizer, makeup etc. Is there anything I can do to help clear the rash please?
AskDocWeb: You would need to check with your doctor for a treatment plan specific to your situation. This forum is for sharing information about side effects.
Subj: high blood pressure
I was diagnosed with Herpes 1&2 a couple of months ago. Never had sores: oral or/and genital. I got married 3 weeks ago and started on daily valtrex (since am not having 'normal' breakout signs, I want to reduce transmission as much as I can). A few days ago, I saw the doctor because of a severe sinus infection. My blood pressure was 160/100 and is still high 137/80. Before valtrex it was in the 120/70 range. I very concerned. What are my options in terms of transmission prevention if I stop taking valtrex? How can I lower my bp? Please advise. Thank You.
AskDocWeb: Unfortunately high blood pressure is a rare side effect of Valtrex. We leave the advice to online Doctors and try to keep the focus of this forum on sharing experiences with side effects.
Subj: Double vision
I have been having strange visual affects (temporary double vision) since being on Valtrex. These only occur first thing in the morning and last less than 5-10 minutes. (I take the Valtrex in the evening) I have been to the eye dr. who diagnosed it as "dry eye" however, the more that I read...I am beginning to suspect that it might be from the medication. Is this dangerous and should I stop taking this particular medicine....or lower my dosage? Thank you.
AskDocWeb: Some side effects of Valtrex may indicate a serious problem and should be reported immediately to your doctor. Any change in your vision is one of them. Other symptoms that should be reported immediately to your doctor include but are not limited to:
Subj: Is it better to use acyclovir to treat genital herpes or not?
Is it better in the long term to use acyclovir to treat genital herpes or just let the outbreaks run their course naturally (since the meds may put wear & tear on the body)? Thanks.
AskDocWeb: Typically the disease causes much more wear and tear on the body than the drug used to treat it. Not treating genital herpes also involves a lot more pain.
Subj: Link between Valtrex headaches and itching
I use Valtrex when I feel an outbreak of labial or genital herpes coming on, and from what I've experienced and read here, there certainly is a link between the medication, headaches and itching in some users. Why don't you say so in your replies? Carole
AskDocWeb: We do, the itching was just covered a couple of posts above (see the reply to Mgl's post 8/30/2011). On page 1 it clearly says that up to 38% of patients taking Valtrex experience headaches. It can be difficult to sort out the symptoms of the disease from the side effects of the medication used to treat it, especially when they have things in common. For example headaches and itching are early warning signs of an impending outbreak but they are also listed as possible side effects of Valtrex.
Subj: Double vision
I am 43 and developed "Shingles". My doctor prescribed "Valtrex". The very next day I was very ill and developed double vision. I continued taking the medication for several more days and returned to my doctor to report the severe double vision. He stated it was not a side effect of the medication (Valtrex). I then saw the Opthromoligist, who stated the shingles were not in my eye, "Thank God". After listening to my doctor I continued taking Valtrex for up to 9 of the 10 days before I went on line and saw that "double vision" was in fact a side effect of the medication. I have been off of the medication for 5 days now and still have double vision. How much longer will this medication remain in my system before I get rid of the double vision?
AskDocWeb: Typically the half-life of Valtrex is less than 4 hours so it is out of your system in less than a day. It is surprising that your Ophthalmologist didn't address this. Although it is possible that Valtrex caused the double vision it is also possible that it may have another cause. Without knowing what is causing the double vision there is no way to estimate how long it might last. Read more about double vision.
Subj: I found an old prescription
Question; I found an old prescription of Vacacyclovier for herpes the experation date was 12/12/10, is the prescription still ok to use? or would it not work anymore, because i ran out of my prescription so i wanted to know if the old prescription was still ok to take? Please help.
AskDocWeb: Use your common sense when it comes to expired medication. If your medication is only a couple of days past the expiration date then chances are good that it could still be okay. However, if the medication is months or years past expiration, it is not worth taking the risk. In general, it is best to discard all medication once it has expired. Some medication, such as Nitroglycerin tablets and Epinephrine (among others) can lead to death if taken after expired.
Remember that you can also call your doctor's office or pharmacist, tell them the name of the medication and the expiration date. Ask him or her if it is safe to take the medication.
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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.